Press Statement

By Jose Maria Sison
Chairman, International Network of Philippine Studies
and Chief Political Consultant, National Democratic Front
November 25, 1996

In addition to the IMF, World Bank and the WTO, APEC is one more multilateral device for the US and Japan to push trade and investment liberalization, privatization and deregulation at the expense of the subservient economies and all the people in the Asia-Pacific region.

Within the framework of APEC, the Philippines is being required to become a dumping ground for the manufactured and agricultural surpluses of other countries, to destroy local production for the needs of the people and yet to impose a higher tax burden on the people while tariff and nontariff protection of local production is done away with.

The expectation of the Ramos regime that it can become a newly- industrializing country by further cheapening labor and promoting low-value added manufacturing for export is foolish in the face of the fact that the original four tigers in East Asia and all other imitators are now suffering from a crisis of overproduction in their type of products, are undergoing declining rates of export and rising trade deficits and are required to give up the protection or incentives previously given to their local production and to the investments of their states and domestic investors.

In recent years, the GNP and GDP have been rapidly bloated by the rising costs of import-dependent production, including that of export-oriented sweatshop operations, as well as of import-dependent consumption camouflaged as production. Thus, the foreign trade deficit has been rising fast from year to year. The GNP and GDP growth rates do not mean real economic development but means further underdevelopment.

The actual deterioration of the Philippine economy can be seen in the ever growing dependence on foreign loans and portfolio investments, the mounting foreign debt service, accelerated local public borrowing, privatization of state assets, frequent oil price hikes and the increasing tax burden. Financial resources are used to keep the country underdeveloped and to serve the exploitative interests of the foreign monopolies and the local reactionary classes of big compradors and landlords.

The APEC is an arrangement of imperialist and neocolonial client states for the benefit of the multinational firms and banks and for the further exploitation and oppression of the people. The current APEC leaders' summit seeks to accelerate trade and investment liberalization in favor of US and Japanese monopoly capitalism. It deserves the outrage and militant protest actions of the broad masses of the people.

To prepare for and stage the APEC leaders' summit, the US-controlled Ramos regime has mobilized more than 50 thousand army troops, police and paramilitary personnel and has undertaken countless repressive measures against the workers, urban poor, peasants, fishermen, youth, women and other people.

It is just and reasonable for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to warn the Ramos regime against the escalation of human rights violations and to hold it responsible for consequences adverse to the continuity of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

In the course of the repressive actions undertaken by the Ramos regime in connection with the APEC, Danilo Borjal, who is an NDFP negotiating panel consultant, has been arrested and detained by the regime. He is a holder of the NDFP document of identification ND978238, with the alternative name Ador Pulahan.

He must be immediately released because he is entitled to enjoy safety and immunity guarantees under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Failure to release him immediately is a violation of the JASIG and is sufficient cause for the NDFP to disengage from the peace negotiations with the GRP.

The people's caravan from Manila to Subic and the nationwide protest mass actions are being conducted in accordance with in the national interest of the entire Filipino people and basic democratic rights.

The aforesaid anti-APEC mass actions have started since the morning of November 24. The protesting organizations and people have been subjected to various forms of repression and provocation but have resolutely and militantly proceeded with their mass actions.

The Ramos regime is accountable and condemnable for its acts of repression and provocation. Should it violently suppress or disrupt the anti-APEC protest actions, the broad masses of the people have all the reason to expand and intensify their resistance. Consequently, the NDFP will have to consider withdrawing from peace negotiations with the GRP. #

Mon, 25 Nov 1996

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