17 February 2023
FARMERS DECRY RUSH TO RATIFY RCEP; VOW TO CONTINUE FIGHT AGAINST LIBERALIZATION POLICIES THAT HAVE DECIMATED PHILIPPINE AGRICULTURE
Amid reports that 16 Senators have already signed the proposed Senate Resolution concurring in the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), the broad coalition of various agriculture stakeholders, workers and trade justice advocates will hold a Press Conference on Monday, 20 February 2023, 10am at Max’s Restaurant, Quezon Memorial Circle to react to the ongoing rush to approve the mega trade deal in the Senate.
The broad coalition issued a statement last 31 January 2023 supported by 131 organizations and 9 individuals, calling on the Senate to Reject RCEP.
At the February 7 public hearing of the newly established Subcommittee on RCEP under the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the coalition delivered a message to the Senate – as a policy-setting and oversight institution – to:
1) Inquire into whether or not the neoliberalism mindset that has guided past and present free trade agreements like RCEP as well as Philippine development programs provides a real path to sustainable progress for Filipinos, especially the poor and the marginalized; and
2) Come up with adequate, time-bound and mandatory “safety net” and “competitiveness-enhancement” measures, which should be in place BEFORE the Senate’s final decision on RCEP.
The demand from the sector was not merely to have guidelines as a prerequisite for Senate concurrence but to emplace the necessary measures, policies and programs prior to concurrence. Only then could the potential threats be averted and possible benefits be realized from the agreement.
The groups will likewise discuss the next steps moving forward not just on the conditionalities set forth in the proposed Senate Resolution, but more importantly in the continuing fight against neoliberal economic policies that have decimated Philippine agriculture.
Speakers will include:
Leonardo Montemayor, former Agriculture Secretary
Rafael Mariano, former Agrarian Reform Secretary
Arsenio Tanchuling, Alyansa Agrikultura
Rene Ofreneo, Freedom from Debt Coalition
Ana Maria Nemenzo, WomanHealth Philippines and Trade Justice Pilipinas
Representative from National Rural Women’s Congress (PKKK)
For virtual participation please join via Zoom:
Topic: Trade Justice Pilipinas Press Conference on RCEP
Time: Feb 20, 2023 10:00 AM Hong Kong SAR
Link available upon request.
For details and confirmations, please contact:
Joseph Purugganan (09175460319) [email protected]