Malolos, Bulacan— Around 150 farmers, women, senior citizens, and children who were part of a "Lakbayan" (march) from Bataan to Malacanang to request President Rodrigo Duterte to help get the lands awarded to them under the government's agrarian reform program were prevented from entering Bulacan like by the Malolos police at 4pm on May 30. The farmers were set to stop and rest at the Social Action Center in Barasoain Church in Malolos before pushing for Manila in the morning of May 31.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), a mega-regional free trade agreement being negotiated by the 10-member ASEAN regional bloc and its FTA partners China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand held its 18th round of talks May 2-12 in Manila, Philippines. The RCEP talks gained more prominence recently in the wake of the US’ withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPPA and the strong push from countries like Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to bring TPP standards to the RCEP negotiating table.
In the recent[c1] “RCEP 18th Round of Talks,” members of civil society organizations and social movements presented their positions vis-à-vis the RCEP during the official Stakeholders’ Engangement, focusing on its impacts on trade, labor, and resources. They argued against the RCEP as it will give more power to already powerful corporations while making worse the state of employment and labor conditions for workers.