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.

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.

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.

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

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.

The EU-ASEAN Network has questioned what it called a ‘mad rush’ to conclude a comprehensive free trade deals before its term expires on June 30 2016. 

The network’s reaction comes in the wake of the conclusion of talks and the signing today in Bern, Switzerland of a comprehensive free trade agreement between the Philippines and the European Free Trade Association or EFTA, an economic grouping composed of Lichenstein, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland,

17 April 2016

The Global Campaign of Agrarian Reform, of which Focus on the Global South is part, held the International Conference of Agrarian Reform in Brazil earlier this month.

Mr. Den Kamlae, a prominent activist from the Khokyao community, has been reported missing since 16 April 2016. He was last seen at his house before entering the community forest to collect forest products as part of his normal daily activity. This creates grave concern and worry for his family, local activists, and community members.  

Focus joins hundreds of protesters in front of the Philippine Department of Agriculture Office to demand justice and urgent government action on El Nino. Kalampag or Kampanya Laban sa Pagkagutom (Campaign against hunger) is symbolised by an empty pot, a perennial symbol used by informal settlers and urban poor communities to dramatise the problem of hunger.

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