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Philippine President-elect Aquino dared to reverse mom’s neo-liberal policies

by V. Uy Thursday, Jun. 24, 2010 at 5:19 AM

MANILA, Philippines — Akbayan party-list Representative Walden Bello on Tuesday dared President-elect Benigno Aquino III to reverse his mother’s neo-liberal policies that he said have killed Philippine agriculture and industry.

At the public forum on the Campaign for Life of Dignity for All, Bello said among these policies is on debt, which the incoming president has promised during the election campaign to repudiate.

“It is urgent for the next administration to declare a debt moratorium. We’ve paid that debt so many times…He (Aquino) favors debt repudiation. He said so during the campaign,” he said.

“Now we have to make him live up to his campaign promise. Did he make this out of the needs of the campaign? I don’t think so. I think he realizes that he has to undo this legacy of his mother of automatic debt payment,” he added.

Bello said the new administration means a “chance to break with the past” and “reverse all neo-liberal policies that have reigned over the past 30 years.”

He said the task of civil society is to make sure that the new Aquino administration does not waste the chance to break with the past, and push for the fulfillment of the rights to food, shelter, and other social and economic rights.

“We may have the most successful anti-corruption campaign, but poverty and inequality will increase if the same policies prevail,” he said.

Bello said neo-liberalism—through trade liberalization and globalization—has been proven wrong. He said that in as much as it has brought down the number of industries in the country from about 200 in the 1970s to around 10 now, it has also been proven wrong worldwide.

“US is down, Europe is collapsing, and East Asia is going to follow. It is not true that export market is our savior, that cheap labor key to cheap products, especially with no or limited domestic demand,” he said at the forum that seeks to bring the “people’s agenda” for the new president to adopt.

Bello said putting social and economic justice in collision with economic growth

is part of the “old school of thought.”

“Many (of these ideas) are from UP School of Economics which took our country to devastation. This is a thing of the past,” he said.

“We have to follow these rights to food, jobs, shelter, and health services, and with consumption power comes the ability to make industries grow,” he added.

“Unless we follow and institutionalize social protection not emerge as economic basket case,” he said.

Bello stressed that government, not civil society, plays a key role in giving Filipinos a life of dignity through social protection measures.

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