WEF a mere talk shop for capitalists, politicians
This is n response to Ma. Rosa Pedregozo’s letter (“Losing senatorial candidate now back to life,” Opinion, 6/4/14). She wonders what an ex-congressman and losing senatorial candidate like me was doing in a protest against the recently held World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia.
Pedregozo shouldn’t be surprised. After all, I was a street activist before being nominated to Congress as a party-list representative. After my stint in the legislature, I simply went back to the parliament of the streets pushing the same advocacies for the marginalized sectors that I represented for nine years in Congress. In fact, I never left the streets.
On a more important point, Pedregozo says that the rally was “uncalled for, ill-timed and out of place” since the WEF was an “important gathering” of “well-respected leaders” who came “to help in the development of Asian economies, including ours.” I beg to disagree.
The WEF is a talk shop for big capitalists and high government officials out to push policies that have precisely caused unprecedented poverty, inequality and social injustice in the world. The main agenda, the so-called “public-private partnerships,” is nothing but the sellout of public utilities and social services to private corporations out to make gargantuan profits at the expense of ordinary citizens. Think MWSS, Meralco, PLDT, MRT-3, Petron, NLEx, SLEx and a host of previously state-owned enterprises that have been sold to become the milking cow of local oligarchs and their foreign partners. Next up would be our hospitals, schools, local water districts, electric cooperatives and airports. Indeed, raking in superprofits is more fun in the Philippines. No wonder the folks at the WEF were so happy.
The point of our protest was to show that in this next “Asian miracle” of neoliberal economic dogma, only the rich get richer while so many of our poor remain landless, jobless, hungry and would rather work in war-torn places like Afghanistan or Syria just to make ends meet. That’s economic development for Pedregozo, courtesy of those respected leaders and bleeding hearts in the WEF. We say genuine people’s development is too important to be left to these circles of monopoly capitalists and elite politicians. We want inclusive growth to be real, not a tired slogan for talk shops.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan,
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