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Since the early 1990s, Cambodia has been heavily reliant on foreign aid. The Cambodian Government is seeking to reduce donor-dependence and increase self-reliance, aiming to lift the country to the status of higher middle-income country by 2030. This goal depends heavily on increasing private investment, and the Government has described the private sector as the “engine of economic growth” for Cambodia. It is therefore seeking to encourage both foreign and domestic investment in order to maintain current growth rates and facilitate continued development of the country. 

Another major concern raised by the EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign network against the proposed  EU-Philippines free trade agreement is the impact of its strict intellectual property rights chapter (IPR) on public health and access to medicines.  Health advocates and proponents of the Cheaper Medicines Law (RA 9502) together with trade advocates have come out strongly against provisions in the FTA that would extend patent terms, and effectively delay availability of more affordable generic medicines. Public health should not be subordinated to the agenda of big pharmaceutical companies.

Citra Mina workers have been on strike since 2013 over the arbitrary termination of 238 for organising a union. The striking workers and union supporters have been facing various threats including purported "disappearances" onboard fishing vessels of workers who complain company abuses.

A number of issues have been raised against the company including unsafe and slave-like working conditions, blacklisting to keep workers in line, forced labour, rampant use of labour and fishing subcontracting called "cabo" system, alleged human trafficking and illegal fishing.

By Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla and Joseph Purugganan

Amsterdam/Manila, May 24 2016 – As the first round of negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the EU commences in Brussels, a new report warns that it endangers effective regulation of the mining industry in the Philippines.

The Philippines is one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves. Its estimated 9 million hectares of land with mineral reserves (gold, copper, nickel, aluminium and chromite) occupies 30% of the total land area of the Philippines.

In the last decade, the resource-rich Philippines has bet heavily on the mining industry as a development strategy, an approach that has come under growing scrutiny. With 47 large-scale mines in operation and growing evidence of their social and environmental costs, all the presidential candidates in May 2016 election were forced to explain their position on, and their financial ties to, the extractive industry. Most candidates, including President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, argued for “responsible mining” and an end to “exploitative contracts”.

The first round of negotiations for an EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement will commence next week (May 23-27) in Brussels, Belgium. A 60-person strong Philippine delegation led by outgoing DTI Secretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr will negotiate on behalf of the Philippines.  The EU-PH FTA has been criticised by civil society groups for its ambitious agenda that will imperil peoples rights and national sovereignty. These talks follow the signing last month of another trade agreement with the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) States.

20 May 2016

Our Executive Director Shalmali Guttal speaks about the increasing accounts of criminalisation of dissent and attack on peasants that is occurring in many parts of the world, including India and reasserts the importance of global peasant solidarity in the form of International Day of Peasant's Struggle.

Speaking to us during the International Conference of Agrarian reform in Maraba, Brazil, Shalmali also expressed her honour and pride in being with the peasants from around the world, in their moments of resistance.

Video courtesy of La Via Campesina

 

By: Dorothy Grace Guerrero*originally published by Asienhaus

It is hardly known to German taxpayers, that they are one of the major shareholders in the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Even less is known about the role it plays, through its contributions and voting power, in this financial institution that is shaping the economies of many Asian countries.

Focus on the Global South joins big mobilisations in Manila, Philippines to commemorate the International Workers' Day (or locally known as Labor Day). Photos by Galileo de Guzman Castillo

Since the early 1990s, Cambodia has been heavily reliant on foreign aid. The Cambodian Government is seeking to reduce donor-dependence and increase self-reliance, aiming to lift the country to the status of higher middle-income country by 2030.

In the last decade, the resource-rich Philippines has bet heavily on the mining industry as a development strategy, an approach that has come under growing scrutiny.

Climate Change and Agroecology

What exactly is the climate change crisis ? How does it affect us ? Are we causing it ? How ? How is it going to affecting our land, water, food and lifestyle ? Can we anything about it ? How ? Why is the practice of agroecology so important in addition to clean energy ? 

This Handbook on Agroecology: Farmers’ Manual on Sustainable Practices is third in the series of booklets on Agroecology for small and marginal farmers, brought out by the Focus on the Global South in partnership with the Rosa LuxembergStiftung (RLS), South Asia. 

This booklet is the second in the series on small and marginal farmers in India (following Where Have all the Small Farmers Gone?) and presents the advantages of agroecological practices.

Access Delayed = Access Denied: Trade, Intellectual Property Rights and Peoples' Struggle for Access to Medicines in Southeast Asia

A report from Focus on the Global South and EU-ASEAN FTA Network - click to download PDF (3 MB)

 

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Labor Day statement of Independent Senatorial Candidate Walden Bello

Today, I march side by side with our workers to affirm their struggle for labor rights and continue the fight for dignity for our working class.

Labor day is a celebration of what the labor movement has won over decades of struggle.

Not many people know this but the fact that it is illegal to force workers to work for more than 8 hours and that they have to be paid more if they work beyond that is something that workers—through collective action—achieved.

You may sign this statement by clicking here

Suffering the brunt of the ongoing El Nino, more than 6 thousand farmers converged along a national highway in Kidapawan in the island of Mindanao in the Philippines on March 30 to demand 15,000 sacks of rice and financial subsidy promised to them six months earlier by the provincial government. They urgently need this assistance to tide them over until they are able to plant and harvest rice again.