Date: Wed, 11 Mar 98 00:03:58 CST
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Philippines: KMU Says Economic Summit A Farce
Article: 29607
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** 253.0 **/
** Topic: Philippine KMU Brands Econ Summit A Farce **
** Written 10:13 PM Mar 2, 1998 by labornews in **
From: Robyn Magalit Rodriguez,

KMU brands economic summit a farce

Kilusang Mayo Uno, News Release, 11 February 1998

oThe militant Kilusang Mayo Uno has called today's Economic Summit a farcical gathering of so-called representatives of Philippine society, organized so that Pres. Fidel Ramos can regale the Filipino people with glowing statistics and facts conjured by his cabinet of economic charlatans.

The KMU, and cause-oriented groups under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan are set to picket the Malacaang-sponsored summit at the PICC this afternoon.

KMU Chairperson Crispin Beltran said it was ironic that today also marks the arrival of the team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who will review the country's economic performance and start talks with the government for a precautionary agreement for the country.

The Ramos government appears to be holding a summit with its people but in fact, it is selling the country out to the IMF, he said.

This just goes to show that the government is holding on to its anti-people economic policies; and that no number of summits or talks will ever change its loyalty to the IMF, the World Bank (WB), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other agents of imperialism, he added.

Beltran said the effects of the Ramos government's neoliberal economic program were harsh on the workers. Citing government figures, he said 60,000 workers were laid off in 1996 and 40,000 in 1997. Some 400 corporations closed down in that period due to low capitalization and productivity brought about by stiff competition.

Another 185 closed down in the first half of 1997. And in January 1998, more than 12,000 workers in 308 firms were laid off.

Beltran blamed the growing unemployment figures to the government's liberalization, deregulation and privatization policies which he said stifled the development of local industries by allowing giant multinational and transnational corporations, including cheap imports, to invade the economy.

Furthermore, he said the government's cheap and docile labor policy has kept workers' incomes at a minimum, resulting in low purchasing power and a sluggish domestic market.

But instead of correcting these mistakes, the summit in fact aims to strengthen the present thrust towards liberalization and deregulation. If the government insists on its wrong economic policies, what use is there for a summit? said Beltran.

He said a summit could only be significant if it would discuss the radical economic reforms that should be implemented immediately; policies such as debt moratorium, nationalization of the oil industry and other vital industries, protectionist economic policies, genuine land reform, national industrialization, and a reversal of all anti-people IMF, WB and WTO economic dictates.