There are the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). And there also are the accompanying serious and continuous objections raised against the over-all plan, programs and/or projects of the said economic entities. They may vary in their ideological persuasions but have the same vested interests. There are those who say – with ample reason and evidence – that the Philippine government is sadly on the side of neo-liberal capitalism.
Liberation has certain economic advantage. But the Philippines being a “developing” Country – not to mention its long standing title as a “Third World Country” – it has but little economic leverage. This reality has particular relevance with the International Monetary Fund “IMF”. It is not only difficult but also somehow ridiculous to say that the so-called “First World Countries” are engaged in “leveling the playing field” when dealing with a “developing” country such as the Philippines. There are at least three signal questions that come to fore:
Can it be said with sincerity and candor that the Philippines – by and large engaged in agricultural economy – is treated fairly by developed countries specifically in conjunction with the trading of farm products in general? This is not asking for trading done in heaven but simply looking for equity not only in trading but also in agricultural production as well. The truth of the matter however is that even in the world of business and industry, international politics has a big say.
Has the rather hasty drive towards industrialization and the liberalized entry of foreign capital in this country in fact exacerbated rather than ease the Philippine economic situation? To answer in the affirmative with honesty and sincerity would either belittle if not deny the OFW phenomenon of long standing. Such an exodus of Filipino workers not only denies national socio-economic development but also destroys a good number of families.
Does the root cause of the present Philippine economic crisis – all declamations and panaceas respectively said and undertaken by the incumbent administration – go back to the year 1992 when the then government encouraged American dollar borrowings with but much speculative economic advantage? To answer to the contrary would be to deny the stark realty of the progressively lower exchange rate of the Philippine peso – courtesy of the IMF.
Thus it is that in the Philippines, there are now not really few and timid voices heard here and there literally shouting the following primary agenda for the economic salvations of the Filipinos: Stop paying for the meantime, the enormous debt of the Philippines to the IMF. Engage in local energy production rather than depend mainly on imported oil. And grow as much food as possible in accord with the attributes of the land and environ of the country. Are these so hard to understand?