Trans-Pacific Partnership signing: “It’s the end of the world as we know it”
Farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said its October campaign and last quarter protests will highlight the Filipino people’s opposition and resistance to the continuing land grabbing and plunder of monopoly capitalist economies on Philippine agriculture. KMP made this announcement as global economies led by the United States government reached a final agreement on the controversial multinational trade deal Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
“If World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements resulted to all-inclusive onslaught in Philippine agriculture and economy, then we can foresee the TPPA to do the worse. Details of the TPPA remain secret, with leaked TPPA documents revealing only policies on investment, regulatory coherence, intellectual property, and state-owned enterprises. But it is expected that the TPPA will require participating countries to remove all existing trade tariffs and barriers, further press down workers’ rights and wages and total sell-out lands to investors. TPPA is actually WTO on steroids,” says KMP chairperson Rafael Mariano.
The Philippines is not yet a party to the TPPA which final agreement was signed by 12 Pacific Rim countries in a final round of negotiations last Monday. Trade ministers from the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam have approved the widest-ranging trade deal that reportedly covers everything from pharmaceuticals and banking to milk.
“Knowing the Philippines’ significant and strategic role in the United States’ pivot to Asia strategy, the Philippine government will definitely find ways to join the TPPA or adopt policies endorsed by the agreement either through Charter amendments or bilateral agreements.”
In June this year, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Gregory Domingo confirmed in a conference of Washington, D.C.-based think tankCenter for Strategic and International Studies that the Philippine government wants to join the TPPA. “We cannot allow that to happen. Joining the TPPA is worse than sealing your own death,” added Mariano who described the TPPA as ‘the worst of all economic and trade accords ever created’.
This entire month of October, KMP and its regional and provincial chapters nationwide will lead activities and protests to demand genuine land reform and free land distribution as opposed to the worsening land grabbing of local and foreign landlords and investors. On October 20, KMP will present the ‘Peasant Electoral Agenda’ to candidates running for national positions. Activities will culminate on October 21 in a nationally-coordinated day of protest led by farmers.
“The October Peasant Month will serve as a build-up for even bigger protests in November against the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in Manila,” Mariano said. ###