NGO calls for protection,restriction on foreign trade

Published by rudy Date posted on January 14, 2009

A NONGOVERNMENT organization (NGO) called on the Arroyo administration to set aside its political agenda and reorient the Philippine economy in preparation for the worst global financial crisis in decades.

Dr. Walden Bello, national president of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), on Tuesday said short-term measures should be implemented to prepare the country for the crisis that is expected to drag on until 2010.

“The developing crisis has discredited neoliberalism, the hege­monic paradigm of the last 30 years, opening up the space for new economic discourses. There is a universal clamor for more stringent regulation of the economy and greater calls for democratic decision-making. The time is opportune for incorporating the voices of peasants, workers, women and other margi­nalized sectors in the crafting of public policy,” he said.

Bello said that while “the United States and most other governments have shifted to war-footing on the economic front, the Philippine government refuses to recognize the dimensions of the storm that is about to engulf us.”

“The country, we are told by spokesmen of the administration, will not be as badly affected as others. The reason for this reluctance is clear: presenting the current crisis as an emergency will take away from the urgency that the government would like to give its self-serving agenda to change the Constitution to allow the present occupant of Malacañang to exercise power indefinitely,” he said.

“The irony inside the country is the political condition because the policy makers are under [a] state of denial,” Lidy Nacpil, FDC vice president, said.

Citing the sharp decline in remittances, job cuts, and massive economic contraction expected across nations, the Filipino people should have reason to fear the worst, Bello said.

Among the steps that FDC suggested be taken in the coming period are: replacing the free trade approach with managed trade, which would promote domestic industry and agriculture; moving towards a healthy mixed economy in which private enterprises coexist with cooperatives, private-public partnerships and state enterprises; and undertaking income and asset redistribution to create a dynamic internal market that will fuel demand and provide a long-term stimulus to ecologically sustainable economic growth.
— Ira Karen Apanay, Manila Times

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