Migrants sending, host countries deserve Hall of Shame award

Press statement15 December 2005
For reference: Eni Lestari AMCB Spokesperson Tel. No.: 96081475 Dolores Ballladares AMCB Spokesperson Tel. No.: 97472986 Connie Bragas-Regalado MIGRANTE Chairperson Tel. No.: 92745010

As faithful adherents to the policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO), governments who send and host foreign workers have a lot to answer for the sad plight of migrants and our families. For their crimes, negligence and disservice to their people, they deserve nothing less than to be given the Hall of Shame award.

For migrant workers, we are caught between the deteriorating socio-economic and political conditions of our home countries and the equally worsening situation of workers in labour importing ones.

The policies of globalization pushed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) have aggravated the already deplorable condition of peasants and workers in underdeveloped and developing countries that, in turn, push millions of people to seek employment overseas.

Abroad, however, we face wage depression, insecurity of employment, iscrimination, lack of access to services, and repression of our democratic rights as workers.

Under this condition, it is but apt for migrant workers to bestow wards?to the governments of labor importing and exporting countries who have nothing to show to us and to our families but the promise of worse things to come as they continue to push for the WTO prescriptions of liberalization, deregulation and privatization.

* The King of Tyrants Award?is bestowed to King Gyendra of Nepal. His clamp down on the democratic rights of the Nepali just shows the fact that tyrants always resort to iron rule when the restlessness of the people for a new and better society heats up.

* For the government of Indonesia, we give them the Rookie Labor Exporter of the Year Award to signify its intensifying commodification of Indonesian workers. Yudhoyono may be rookie to the labor importing game, but he definitely gives his best to get as much as he can from his sellout of his citizens to slave work abroad.

* Thailands principle of service is the absence of service. As proven by Thai migrants in Hong Kong, Taiwan and in other countries, the rights and wellbeing of their nationals overseas is clearly not even in the agenda of Thaksin Shinawatra administration. For this, they receive the Absentee Award?

* While Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo harped on about the so-called strengthening of the Philippine peso for the past few weeks, she conveniently forgot to mention that the ever-increasing remittance and income from government charges to overseas Filipinos have always the top dollar-earner of the country. For continuing the massive exaction from Filipinos abroad, GMA deserves the Milkmaid Award for milking migrants dry with dubious and unjust fees.

* The Sultan of Crackdown Award? goes to the Malaysian government where hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants and their families have been viciously shipped out of his country despite the fact the they were workers who contributed a lot to the national economy.

* Cuts rule the HK government policies for the past few years. Wage cuts, budget cuts, cuts to social services these are just some of the most drastic policies of the past administration continued by the current Chief Executive Donald Tsang. For this, we give HK the Edward Scissorhands Award.?

* The United States government does not only kill people in other countries with their economic and political dictates. Its self-declared War on Terror a tactic to arm twist countries who do not follow its Globalization?lead has killed lives and livelihood of migrant workers in countries where it waged its wars of aggression. Even in its own soil, rights of foreign workers are subjected to its Patriot Act and Absconders Act. Thus, we give the US, the Migrants Terror Award

If these countries have something in common, it is their shameful treatment of migrant workers. As they continue to worship WTO and globalization, they shall remain in the Hall of Shame. We, the migrant workers and our families, shall continue to hound them and the WTO until we achieve the award of a decent and humane society that we rightfully deserve.#

The United States government: world leader in the commodification and violation of rights of migrant workers

The United States government leads the pack of Hall of Shame awardees among the sending and host countries of migrant workers.

It terrorizes and kills migrant workers around the world by forcing its neoliberal globalization agenda through the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its aggression against countries and movements fighting its hegemony under the guise of War on Terror.

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), Non-Agricultural Market Access Agreement (NAMA) and the TRIPs all bear the trademark of the US desire to fully pry open all sectors of the economy of underdeveloped and developing countries for plunder and exploitation by multinational companies of the US, European Union (EU), Japan and other world powers.

These agreements will only make worse the situation of people in poor countries forcing more and more of them to leave their home countries and become cheap laborers in other countries including the US.

However, it is not only the US?economic agenda that kills migrant workers. The continuing US-led War on Terror?has also victimized migrant workers, refugees and our families. The hype on terrorism has been openly used by the US government to defeat countries and movements that defy its rule.
The war that the US waged in Afghanistan and in Iraq has cost the lives of migrants aside from exposing millions of migrants who work in the middle east to danger as well as jeopardizing their employment.

Meanwhile, political refugees are also persecuted by the US war. A clear example is the ongoing harassment and violation of the rights of Prof. Jose Maria Sison, a political refugee and chairperson of the ILPS, who was arbitrarily tagged by the US, EU and their allies as terrorists.

In the US itself, migrants and immigrants have suffered the brunt of the hysteria against Terror? The experiences of migrants and immigrants under the US?Patriot Act and Absconder Act have shown to the world that, even in its own soil, the US government tramples on the peoples rights for the sake of protecting and promoting the interests of US monopolies.

The murder of migrants by the US government and the terror it sows must stop. This includes the defeat of the WTO and its agenda. Together with our families and our compatriots in our home countries, migrant workers shall ensure that it will be so.#

International Labor Groups Unite vs. Political Repression,Labor Flexibilization

News Release15 December 2005
REFERENCE: Dennis Maga, 95232051Bong Labog, 64902156

Workers from different parts of the world converged at the ILPS Pavillion in Victoria Park, Hong Kong today to unite and strengthen their ties against the onslaught of systematic and worldwide attacks on workers' rights and political repression of trade unionists and workers' rights advocates.

Held in time with the ongoing 6th Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), more than 40 workers' and trade union organizations from 10 countries across the world participated in the workshop organized by the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU or May First Movement Labor Center) from the Philippines and the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS).

The participants vowed to launch an international campaign against intensive political repression of trade unionists and workers' rights activists. The workers also declared their intention of setting up a loose international network of workers' organizations for monitoring, studying, and campaigning against labor flexibilization and contractualization.

"The large number of labor organizations and individuals who attended the forum only proved that labor flexibilization of the monopoly capitalists has adversely affected workers from across the world," said Elmer "Ka Bong" Labog, chairperson of KMU.

Labor flexibilization, according to Labog, is the scheme devised by monopoly capitalists to squeeze in more profits from the workers through massive contractualization, irregularization, or casualization.

"The experiences shared by labor organizations from different countries showed that workers of the world are determined to fight labor flexibilization and other anti-labor schemes being cooked up by the WTO in its 6th Ministerial Meeting," said Labog.

Labog further declared the need for workers to be vigilant in their struggle against all forms of labor exploitation and repression.

"The workshop has provided ocassion for workers to strengthen our ranks by setting up networks for international solidarity against labor flexibilization of all forms across the world," added Labog.

The participants also vowed to wage a campaign against political repression of labor organizations and trade unionists. Of particular concern is the situation of workers in the Philippines. Most prominent case of repression is the recent killing by military agents of Ricardo Ramos, president of Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) and Diosdado "Ka Fort" Fortuna, president of the Union of Filipro Employees (UFE), labor union in Nestle Philippines.
In particular, the delegate from Australia Asia Workers Links suggested the staging of an international day of protest in condemning political repression of trade unionists and politcal activists in the Philippines.

Among the participants in the event are members and officers of Korean Council of Trade Unions, Australia Metal Workers' Union, Asia-Wide Campaign-Japan, Labor Rights Association-Korea, LaborNet-Japan, and Taiwan Labor Institute for Education.

The participants came from various countries such as the Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, United States, Bangladesh, Thailand, India, and the Philippines.

Updated Calendar of Activities during the People's Action Week

Click here to download

INVITATION - "Children Say Game Over WTO!"Children's Picnic at Victoria Park

Click on images to view larger version

Grassroot organizations joins the migrants in action against WTO

Even under threat, migrants will speak out and act against WTO

Press Statement
04 December 2005

For reference: Eni Lestari
Tel. No.: 28104379, 96081475

Migrant workers are attacked by the policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in two fronts – in the host country where we work and in the country where we came from.

Wage cuts, taxation, crackdown on undocumented workers, violence against women, and discrimination – directly and indirectly, the WTO and its policies contribute to the growing list of crimes against foreign workers. Through the years of faithful implementation of these policies, the crimes of host countries to migrants get more severe and more frequent.

Meanwhile in our home countries, the relationship between the socio-political and economic situation resulting from WTO prescriptions and the forced migration of millions from underdeveloped and developing countries is even more evident. We were the peasants, the workers, underpaid women, displaced indigenous peoples, and unemployed youth.

Hong Kong, a host to more than 200,000 foreign workers most of whom are Asian women, exhibit one of the worst condition of migrants under WTO and globalization.

Now that the fight is on our very doorstep, we shall not bow down.

Together with other migrants groups from other countries, migrant-serving institutions and migrant’s rights advocates, we shall launch activities aimed to give voice to the migrants who long been denied the right to be heard.

On December 15, our presence will be felt in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines as we visit each respective consulate and give them the “award” they receive for their disservice to their nationals. As well, the Hong Kong government will not be spared nor the United States whose shameful war on terror not only victimized migrants in the US but in other countries where it launched its interventionist wars.

As our celebration of the International Migrants Day, migrants across the globe declare an International Day of Action of Migrants against the WTO. We shall hold a Migrant’s Speak Out on December 17 to be immediately followed by a Solidarity Night for Migrants where supporters of the migrant’s struggles will be featured.

No amount of threat shall stop the determined sector of migrants in Hong Kong from participating in the People’s Action Week. We are too aware of the efforts, especially of the Indoensian government, to prevent their nationals from being active in anti-WTO activities.

These threats do not scare us. Instead, these just add on to their crimes against the migrants.

Together with our compatriots who will come to HK, the migrants sector do our all out best to frustrate the WTO meeting until the whole institution of the WTO is junked.#

WTO's prescription for 100% liberalization in agriculture to devastate millions ofFilipino farmers; increase worker lay-offs, closures of small businesses

News Release December 4,2005
Ref: Ina Alleco Silverio (09228123634), Tonyo Cruz (09178928277) email at resist_wto@yahoo.com

Resist WTO and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chairperson Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo today said that in the upcoming 6th Misterial meeting of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong, the superpo wer governments led by the US will be pushing for complete 100% liberalization in agricuture and other areas of the economy.

"It is with great trepidation that we await the Philippine government's position on the issues and negotiations that will take place in the upcoming 6th Ministerial Meeting of the WTO in Hong Kong. We demand that the RP government's representatives from the Departments of Trade and Industry and Agriculture immdiately divulge the agenda Malacanang wants them to peddle in Hong Kong. We stand firmly against opening the country's agriculture to the foreign competition. This means nothing but the death of millions of farmers' livelihoods."

The WTO is pushing the NAMA or the Non-Agricultural Market Access program and the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) which are are essentially prescriptions for 100% liberalization in agricuture, trade, finance and even non trade industries. The WTO leadership will be submitting to the body a new proposal on the NAMA and the AoA during the 6th Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong later this month. Called The Derbez Text, it calls for higher tariff cuts on the part of poor countries and lower tariff cuts for the richer countries.

"If the WTO succeeds in pushing and implementing its proposed framework , the inevitable result will be destruction of the majority of the smaller, weaker economies," said Araullo. "Millions of workers will lose their jobs and millions of farmers will lose their livelihood.More domestic industries will close shop."

Agriculture is the key to sustainable development for countries such as the Philippines, yet this is what the WTOis determined to rip open and lay bear to foreign competion. The proposed framework includes an infamous mechanism to accommodate the US' and the EU's very high levels of agricultural subsidies while putting in place a new tari ff formula to open poorer countries' agricultural markets. Under these new rules on agriculture, pruduct dumping will increase," she said.

Dr. Araullo said that the the WTO is like a boxing arena where stronger players regularly beat up their smaller rivals. "The demands and concerns of the developing countries are worthless to the WTO. The new proposal is viciously biased in favor of the richer nations and patently anti-development. It is an out and out betrayal aginst the world's poor. Under the guise of fair rules, the WTO – yet again – is putting in place rules protecting the interests of the strong. The representatives of the Macapagal-Arroyo government should under no circumstances approve this proposal. The consequences of this new proposal being implemented in the Philippines will be most catastrophic for Filipino farmers and the rest of the people, "she asserted.

She said that poor countries such as the Phi lippines have witnessed the increasing deterioration of their economies and the quality of live of their respective peoples in the last 10 years under the domination and control of the WTO. She said that rich nations led by the US dominate the WTO and use it to advance their economic development at the expense of billions of people all over the world.

Finally, The Resist WTO spokesperson said that the pro-corporate, anti-poor agenda of the WTO has provoked massive resistance over the last 10 years. She said that in Seattle in December 1999, the combined refusal of the developing and least developed countries to approve a new round of liberalization and the militant anti-WTO protests mounted by progressive labor, peasant and other people's organizations caused the collapse of the third ministerial meeting.

In Cancun in September 2003, developing and least developed countries clustered into alliances named G-20 (Group of 2 0), G-33 (Group of 33), and G-90 (Group of 90), where the poorer countries took a critical leadership role, along with mass protests and demonstrations led to the collapse of the fifth ministerial.

"All efforts must be made to make sure that the Hong Kong ministerial fails. The working people of the world must unite against the WTO and push their respective governments to renounce membership to the WTO and rescind all agreements with it," she said.

"We have nothing to gain and everything to lose from being a member of the WTO," she said. "The Macapagal-Arroyo government all the more affirms its illegitimacy and anti-people character by continuing to subject the Filipino people to the trade policies of the WTO. Instead of protecting the country's people and natural resources, this government is allowing the global monster which is the WTO to suck the country dry and reduce the population to penury."#

WTO: Whose Trade Organization is it? RP Solon questions RP membership in the WTO

News Release December 6,2005
Ref: Ina Alleco Silverio (09228123634), Tonyo Cruz (09178928277) email at resist_wto@yahoo.com

Resist! Spokesperson and Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino today questioned in Congress the Philippines' continuing membership in the the World Trade Organization (WTO). "The W TO is not by any stretch of the imagination an estbalished or elected government; but from the way it conduct itself, it has become the most powerful pseudo-legislative and judicial body in the world," he said.

Casino said that by promoting the "free trade" agenda of multinational corporations above the interests of local communities, working families, human rights and environment concerns, the WTO has systematically violated the sovereignty, economic and political independence of countries all over the world.

"In the ten years of its existence, WTO panels composed of corporate attorneys have made rulings that patently aggravate the already immense poverty of poorer, weaker nations and their peoples. The WTO has essentially taken over the governments and unilaterally laid down disastrous amendments to internal laws and charters of supposedly sovereign states. Trade, agriculture and labor officials of governments all ove r the world, to say nothing of the top executives, are essentially takin their cues from the WTO," he said.

The activist lawmaker and Resist spokespersom said that the the WTO is even imposing global authority greater than than institutions such as the United Nations (UN) dares to impose. "Unlike UN treaties, the International Labor Organization conventions, or multilateral environmental agreements, the WTO cracks its whip and enforces its rules through sanctions. This gives the WTO more power than any other international body. The WTO's authority even eclipses national governments," he said.

Casino said that more than more than 200 activists from the Philippines will gather in Hong Kong this December to protest against the WTO's 6th Ministerial Meeting.

"When the WTO was founded in 1995, it projected its supposed mandate to promote free trade as the key to development. Now, 10 years later, even developing country governments are embittered by the WTO and denounce its policies. The welfare of millions of poor and working people have been sacrificed on the WTO's altar of free trade. The WTO and its corporate agenda have been has been fully exposed. Peoples of the world ask "WTO is the WTO?" , or "Whose trade organization is the WTO? and the answer is swift in coming: the WTO is solely run and controlled by the superpowers led by the US and it transnational and multinational corporations. It is not and has never been an institution that had the betterment of the working peoples' welfare as its agenda."

"Ten years of the WTO is way too much. Now is the time to ask: Whose trade organization is it? It does not appear to belong to or benefit the majority of the world's citizens. The WTO system favors huge multinational companies and the wealthiest few in developed and developing countries, violently attacking the welfare of the poor."
Finally, Casino said that in Hong Kong later this month, Filipino activists - farmers, workers, immigrants, and women -- will register their strong protest against the WTO, linking its policies to the suffering in the daily lives of the poor and working people of the world, not just of the Philippines.

"The WTO's policies on agriculture, labor, immigration, privatization, and trade liberalization spell doom for millions of people in the world. The Philippine government should renoucne membership to this infamous organization and assert economic independence and political indepedence," he concluded.#

“We are the victims of WTO and we are fighting back!”

Press Statement

For reference: Ramon Bultron
Member, ILPS International Coordinating Committee
ILPS – HK Section
Tel. No.: 94773141

In a week’s time, Hong Kong shall become a melting pot of anti-WTO protests and activities. In the People’s Action Week, it shall be the voices of people victimized by WTO policies that should be heard.

The International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), a global formation of anti-imperialist grassroots and grassroots-based organizations shall bring to HK workers, peasants, youth, women, students, indigenous people, migrants, and other sectors who are the most directly and gravely affected by the neoliberal globalization policies of the WTO.

For long time in the anti-WTO movement, others spoke for us. This time, we shall speak for ourselves.

On the People’s Action Week, we shall bring in workers from various countries who have suffered from contractualization and other forms of flexibilization of labor; depression of their wage in the face of soaring prices of basic commodities; and joblessness caused by the closure of small- and medium-scale businesses due to fierce and unequal competition from foreign monopolies.

Peasants will also come in droves for with the WTO, millions of peasants have become hungry and their production has suffered because of the liberalization of agriculture, use of GMOs produced by multinational companies, land grabbing, and land conversion.

Women from all continents shall bring out their concern on the worsening situation of women in different sectors. Class and gender oppression of women has become synonymous with WTO and globalization. In fact with globalization, women as commodities have become more rampant than before.

Deterioration of the economic, social and political situation in their home country has also forced many people to migrate and seek survival abroad. Commodification of migrant labor is set to be intensified especially with the General Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS) Mode 4.

Indigenous people, youth, student, church people, human rights advocates, children’s rights advocates, cultural workers, government employees, and even progressive parliamentarians shall all come to HK – because they themselves have been victims of WTO and globalization.

Now is the time for the victims of the WTO to speak. We are the ones who suffer the brunt of the grave impacts of WTO policies. We shall be the one who will unite and cause its downfall.

On the 6th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, the grassroots have only one voice and one call: JUNK WTO!


News Release
December 2, 2005

Ref: Ina Alleco Silverio (09228123634),
Tonyo Cruz (09178928277) email at resist_wto@yahoo.com

Workers denounce the WTO ; says anti-labor practices of the GMA govt
can be traced directly to WTO policies

Resist WTO and Anakpawis partylist this morning today held a small demonstration in Quezon City to inform the public regarding the impact of the World Trade Organization's policies on Philippine labor. They said that the acronym "WTO" actually stands for "Walang Tigil na Opresyon," and that the Philippines' membership in the WTO has resulted to worsened economic circumstances for workers. "The various vicious anti-labor department orders and policy declarations of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and its adjunct agencies can be directly traced to the WTO's trade policies and impositions," they said.

Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran who will be joining the Resist WTO contingent in Hong Kong for the People's Action Week (PAW) later this month said that because of the programs and policies enforced by the WTO and implemented by the Philippine government, the exploitation of the country's workers have reached devastating levels.

Beltran said that because of liberalization as peddled by the WTO, underemployment and unemployment is extremely high in the Philippines. He said that as of 2004, 6 firms a day closed for "economic reasons," displacing some 164 workers. Of these, he said. 58 lost their jobs because of the closure of their firms, while 106 were retrenched when their companies reduced workforce. "Reasons for the closures and retrenchment are caused by tariff reduction and competition from imports and smuggled goods," he said.

Beltran said that an increasing number of workers have turned to low paying jobs abroad for employment. According to him, since the 1980s, lack of jobs in the country has forced women to apply as foreign domestic helpers. "Many have become victims of prostitution syndicates in countries like Japan. By the 1990s, medical professionals like nurses have been forced to settle for low paying jobs overseas as caregivers to sick and old people in western countries such as the US and Canada. Even doctors have joined the exodus by becoming nurses abroad," he said.

The veteran labor leader turned legislator said that labor liberalization and deregulation are also to blame for the virtual wage freeze. "Government data indicates that wages are so low that even a 100 percent wage increase will not enable the workers and their families to live a decent life," he pointed out.

Beltran also said that trade liberalization has also resulted in the surge of policy of "4 to 5 days compressed workweek" and "contractualization" which are against the law but, nevertheless, promoted by the state. There is also the policy of "forced overtime" that has made 12-hours workday the norm with forced overtimes exceeding 24 hours a norm.. Illegal terminations are also rampant.

"The worst is still to come, however, as the Macapagal-Arroyo governments pushes amend the Labor Code is obeisance to the demand of the WTO and foreign big business groups. "The proposed revision aims to negate once and for all the democratic rights of workers and legitimize the unfair labor practices of local big business and their partners in the multinational and transnational firms."#

News Release
December 3, 2005
Ref: Ina Alleco Silverio (09228123634),
Tonyo Cruz (09178928277) email at resist_wto@yahoo.com

RP's worsening health problems due to poisonous
WTO health sector restructuring prescriptions

ResiST WTO spokesperson and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) chairperson Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo today blamed the worsening state of the Philippine public health care system on the Philippine government' implementation of a health restructuring program structured after the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund's globalization agenda.

"The Philippine government has s taken up privatization as part of its duties to fulfill international agreements. It has signed and entered into multilateral and bilateral agreements requiring local markets to be opened up to foreign capital and businesses, including the socially sensitive public health care system," she explained.

According to Araullo, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) under the WTO agreements, which the government acceded to in 1994, include what is called Mode 3 (one of the four "Modes"), which opens the country to "services provided through the presence of service providing entities of one party in the territory of any other". "One party" refers to the other countries part of the WTO. For health care, this mainly refers to the technologically advanced and highly capitalized private health corporations of first-world countries that are, in contrast to the practice of our government, hired by their governments in their public hospitals to provide free and comprehensive health care to their citizens.

"In the Philippines, the WTO's policy dictates are translated into the government's onstream program for the streamlining of the public health sector, under the Health Sector Reform Agenda, especially under Executive Order 366 to be implemented by the end of this year. Under this, among other disastrous effects, more than 1,000 health workers will be rendered "redundant" and lose their jobs. The 16 existing centers for health development will be reduced to five­a move that can affect the centers’ close to 4,700 employees; and the worst among them, is that public health sector services that directly compete with those of the private sector will be "scaled down, phased out, or abolished". Such a move will make health services even less accessible to the poor and marginalized," she said.

"The budget for health has consistently been miniscule and scandalously small in comparison with annually increasing defense budgets. The lack of provision for health services from the barangay health centers up to the national government hospitals has already reached a critical level. This situation is further aggravated by the exodus for overseas employment, as nurses mostly, of health professionals, which has aggravated the already serious under-staffing of Philippine public hospitals, from the regional to the national levels," she said.

The Resist WTO spokesperson said that consistent with the common principles of the Health Sector Reform Agenda and of privatization, government hospitals now operate as moneymaking institutions, generating their revenues for their own operations.

"This is used as a reason for the national government to reduce the budget allocations to government hospitals every yea r. Specifically, allocations for maintenance and other operating expenses decrease by 20% per year, which results in health institutions charging even more for previously free-of-charge services," she pointed out.

"The national government has been consistent in offloading its responsibility to provide health services to the people. As it is, the government already fails to provide sufficient budget allocations for health services, support for health institutions and the local pharmaceutical industry, and fair and commensurate wages for health workers. But it makes matters worse by ascribing to and by actively pursuing the privatization of public health services."

According to Araullo, for the Philippine govenrment to fulfill the privatization provisions of the Health Sector Reform Agenda as part of the recommendations of the IMF and the WTO, part of the services of the Lung Center of the Philippines will be discontinued, even as cutb acks in the budgets of other government hospitals which the poor still have access to such as the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the Philippine Heart Center and other regional and provincial hospitals are being made.

"What is even worse than simple privatization is its integration with the re-orientation of the country’s health services towards health tourism, where the majority of Filipinos will not only not be able to afford health services, but will be placed second priority to foreigners who avail of such services. Under this program, the services of the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, East Avenue Medical Center, and the Fabella will be integrated towards the objective of health tourism, further commercializing health care and placing it beyond the reach of the majority of poor and marginalized Filipinos," she said.

"The privatization of the public health care system literally al lows the majority of Filipino citizens to get sick and die, unattended by their own government. By prioritizing the privatization of the public health care system, in fulfilling its responsibilities to international trade bodies like the World Trade Organization, the government, as evidenced by the Health Sector Reform Agenda, has as its policy to abandon its own people," she concluded.#

News Release
December 1, 2005

Ref: Ina Alleco Silverio (09228123634),
Tonyo Cruz (09178928277) email at
DTI, Macapagal-Arroyo govt representatives to WTO 6th Ministerial Meet
should divulge RP position on WTO issues

Resist WTO spokesperson and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) chairperson Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo today challenged the Macapagal-Arroyo government and its representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry and other government officials who will be attending the World Trade Organization’s 6th Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong later this month to divulge their agenda to the public. Araullo said that the Macapagal-Arroyo government continues to abide by the WTO’s policies without informing the public regarding the exact promises and commitment it makes to the said organization of global monopolies.

“Yearly the Philippine government renews its membership with the WTO and pledges obedience to it trade programs and policies – but the Filipino people are not sufficiently informed regarding these policies. The impact of these same policies on the lives and welfare of the poor and working sectors such as the workers and the peasants are most devastating, but the government washes its hands of its responsibility by saying that it has no choice but to implement them because of the country’s membership to the WTO,” she said.

“This is an outrage and a gross betrayal of the national interest. The Philippines should immediately withdraw its membership to the WTO and review the policies that it has imposed on the national economy. We demand that Malacanang and its representatives who will act as the Philippines’ negotiators during the WTO ministerial meeting divulge to the public the positions they will take on the crucial issues to be discussed during the meet,” she said.

“We have a right to know. Who is the Philippine government speaking for when it represents the country in mistrial meetings such as those of the WTO? It’s highly doubtful that they’re echoing the stands of the working people. Otherwise the Philippines would’ve pulled out of the WTO long before.”

According to data from the official WTO website, the following are the issues most likely to be raised in Hong Kong:

1. NAMA or non-agricultural market negotiations. “All natural resources are effectively on the table for either partial or complete liberalization, with a particular focus at the moment on fish and fish products, gems and minerals,” and wood products. The following have also been listed for further consideration: trade in chemicals and viruses (for strategic reasons); the tracing and labeling of fish and fish products; general import prohibitions for environmental purposes; and packaging, marketing, and labeling requirements.

2. “Singapore Issues”. These issues at the 1996 Ministerial included investment, competition, transparency in government procurement, and trade facilitation.

3. Mode 4, the Movement of Natural Persons, under the GATS. “GATS Mode 4 is generally limited to the higher-skilled service suppliers: managers, executives, and specialists; it only seeks to protect the managerial personnel who are being posted from one country to another. Mode 4 is very restrictive and excludes permanent migration. It does not cover migration of people in search for jobs; migrant workers are still subject to strict visa and immigration rules of the labor-receiving countries.”

Migrant workers under Mode 4 will:

1. Be exposed to poorer worker conditions than local workers and are more prepared to accept these because of the relatively short period of employment abroad;

2. Not be able to form or join unions;

3. Be subjected to rotating deployment via sub-contracting (short-stay, non-renewal of contracts; seek employment elsewhere);

4. Lose negotiating power in labor disputes and wage negotiations;

5. Have low wages, no collective bargaining agreements, and no social benefits;

6. Have no right to stay permanently.

Agreement of Agriculture.

“Just this January 2005, our quantitative restrictions on rice imports and other such restrictions on primary agricultural products across the globe were set to expire. The extension of these restrictions will be bitterly bargained for. What all this exposes, however, is the simple fact that Philippine agriculture is a victim of the WTO, and this means that the welfare and survival of millions of Filipino farmers have been seriously undermined,” she said.

Araullo said that the destructive effects of the Philippines accession to the WTO incurred 5.2 billion US dollars in agricultural trade deficit since 1995 when it decided to join the WTO in 1994. “Trade liberalization in agriculture has also caused the country to incur revenue losses to the tune of P 10 billion a year. Since 1994, 1.89 million jobs were destroyed and lost in agriculture affecting farmers, fisher folk, small and independent producers,” she said.

Finally, the WTO spokesperson said that the Philippines is already reeling from the adverse consequences of the WTO’s economic restructuring program. She said that all the pretty and positive phrases of the WTO on globalization and the explanations of the Macapagal-Arroyo government on the same reveal an ugly reality.

“These market reforms being peddled under the label of globalization have destructive effects on the working people - - laborers, peasants, women, indigenous peoples and immigrants in all countries. The WTO has ordered governments to undergo currency devaluation, and this has resulted in the melting away of people’s life-savings, turning their hard-earned wages and salaries into worthless amounts. In poorer countries such as the Philippines, the resolve of people is to reject the path of liberalization and privatization and seek alternatives to globalization,” she said.#


* Republic of the Philippines

IBON Foundation, Inc., 3/F SCC Bldg 4427 Interior Old Sta. Mesa, Manila, Philippines
Tel. (632) 713-2729 / 713-2737 | Fax (632) 716-0108 | E-mail: media@ibon.org | www.ibon.org
November 23, 2005

Workers face growing joblessness, job insecurity and worsening labor conditions under the country's trade liberalization regime and membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Says IBON senior researcher Sonny Africa, data from the labor department show that between 1995, when the country became a member of the WTO and 2004, 6 firms a day closed for "economic reasons," displacing some 164 workers. Of these, 58 lost their jobs due to the closure of their firms while 106 were retrenched when their companies reduced their workforce.

Reasons named by the reporting companies included lack of market/slump in demand; competition from imports; and downsizing/reorganization.

These figures were echoed by a survey of the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) among its members, which showed that from 1995 to April 2001, 56 firms closed, displacing 80,319 workers while 29 firms were forced to downsize their workforce, resulting in 4,019 jobs lost. This means that during the first seven years of the country's WTO membership, 32 FPI workers a day lost their jobs because of trade liberalization.

The FPI survey cited too rapid tariff reduction and competition from imports and smuggled goods as reasons for the closures and retrenchments.

Aside from massive retrenchment, trade liberalization has also resulted in the surge of contractual workers. Local firms, already bankrupt from tight foreign competition, maintain contractual workers to cut their costs. Aside from threatening workers' job security, contractualization also denies them the right to organize to protect their rights and bargain collectively.

Trade liberalization also endangers what little industry the country has left. With the country totally opened to manufactured imports under the non-agricultural market access (NAMA) negotiations in the WTO, local industrialists may simply shift from manufacturing to trading, while others may just close down operations as many of them have already done.

IBON's Africa urges government negotiators to reject further liberalization of the domestic economy at the upcoming WTO Hong Kong Ministerial.

Further, government should reverse trade liberalization by increasing tariffs to protect local industries and the agriculture sector against cheap imports and smuggled goods.

Genuine industrial development is impossible under the corporate-led globalization framework promoted by the WTO, says Africa.

Lawmaker hits RP government’s continuing membership in WTO

News Release November 29,2005
Ref: Ina Alleco Silverio (09228123634), Tonyo Cruz (09178928277) email at resist_wto@yahoo.com

Militant people’s organizations and progressive partylists allied with the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) and the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) today announced the formation of Resist WTO, a broad alliance of groups opposed to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Resist WTO is spearheading a series of activities against the upcoming WTO 6th Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong from December 11-15, 2005; but there will also be activities in Manila to coincide with the People’s Action Week (PAW) in Hong Kong. Among Resist WTO’s core organizations are Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Kilusang Magbubukid (KMP), Gabriela, Migrante International and Anakbayan.

Resist WTO spokesperson and Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino said that the WTO trade talks in Hong Kong will be sure to be a venue for poor countries’ protests against the WTO’s exploitative policies. He said that the general consensus among the poor and developing countries in the world is that the WTO should be immediately dissolved. “What good has the Philippines gotten from being a member of the WTO? Ten years after the country joined the WTO, the economy remains in tatters and Filipinos are poorer than ever. The Philippines should get out of the WTO immediately. We’re aiding in our own destruction by continuing to obey its policies and economic dictates.”

“The WTO is not a government. It does not carry any political authority, yet it has appropriated the power to impose punishments against nations who dare to go against its trade impositions. It’s very existence is treason against the sovereign rights and political independence of nations, especially those whose people are already sunk deep in poverty,” he said.

The Resist WTO spokesperson said that developing countries such as the Philippines, the supposed negotiations that take place during the WTO’s ministerial conferences are bogus. “Who calls the shots during these ministerial conferences and meetings but the superpower governments? The policies they concoct are structured and formulated in such a way to ensure these continuing monopoly over the global economy, and to make sure that other poorer, weaker nations are nothing but sources of raw materials on the one hand, and open markets for finished goods on the other,” he pointed out.
“The WTO supposedly operates on a consensus basis, with equal decision-making power for all. In reality, many important decisions get made in a process whereby poor countries' negotiators are not even invited to closed door meetings -- and then 'agreements' are announced that poor countries didn't even know were being discussed. Many countries do not even have enough trade personnel to participate in all the negotiations or to even have a permanent representative at the WTO. This severely disadvantages poor countries from representing their interests. Likewise, many countries are too poor to defend themselves from WTO challenges from the rich countries, and change their laws rather than pay for their own defense,” he said.
Casino said that proof of the destructive impact of the WTO’s policies as adopted and implemented by the Philippine government can be seen in local economic indicators. “For instance, because of massive importation of cheap vegetables such as onions and garlic, local farmers are being driven to their knees by crashing market prices down. The country’s agricultural trade deficits have also ballooned: the deficit grew from $42 million in 1994 to $933 in 2004. As of 2003, more than 40% of the rural population is considered poor and conditions continue to worsen because of government’s neglect for agriculture and refusal to establishment support infrastructure for farmers.”

The flood of cheap imports such as the footwear, textiles and cement industries is also drowning local industries and causing unemployment rates to spike. A survey conducted by the Federation of Philippine Industries from 1995 to 2002 showed that 56 of its member-firms closed down due to liberalization, affecting some 80,319 workers. Employment in agriculture , in the meantime, has fallen from 11.4 million in 1995 to 11 million in 2005. Job creation in manufacturing has remained basically flat over the last decade. As of April 2005, there were 4.8 million unemployed and 8.4 million underemployed Filipinos, the most the country has ever seen.

Casino said that the upcoming Ministerial is an important venue for exploited countries of the world to stand up against their rich counterparts’ corporate-led globalization agenda. “Countries such as the Philippines should reject the WTO and uphold their right to economic sovereignty and genuine development. There can be genuine development under the WTO.”

Among the major issues that member-countries must reach consensus on are market access for manufactured goods, reviews of agreements on trade in services, agriculture and intellectual property rights, and the so-called Singapore issues (investment protection, competition policy, transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation).

You are invited to attend the Forum on Trade and War to be held on December 14, 2005
at 9:00am-5:00pm, at the Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.
Organizers of the forum are the ILPS (International League of Peoples’ Struggles), RESIST! (Resist Imperialist Plunder and War Network)
and BAYAN (New Patriotic Alliance).

Forum on Trade and War
9:00am – 5:00pm,
14 December 2005
HKPA Center Stage, Victoria Park
Causeway Bay, Hongkong
Junk the WTO! Da dou sai mao!
Resist Imperialist Plunder and War!


On December 11-18, 2005, protest actions against the World Trade Organization (WTO) and “free-trade” globalization will be staged by various people’s movements in Hong Kong, simultaneous with the WTO 6th Ministerial Conference.

Representatives of member-organizations of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), who attended the preparatory conference of the International Coordinating Network (ICN) in Hong Kong last February, proposed to the ILPS ICC (International Coordinating Committee) that the ILPS initiate a forum on Trade and War which aims to draw and highlight the linkage between trade, development and war. The proposal was approved by the ICC.

Through this activity, the ILPS can put forward and articulate the sharpest anti-imperialist line in the week-long December peoples’ protest actions against the WTO and globalization. Since “trade” in the era of imperialism means inter-imperialist rivalry and collaboration in plundering the weak economies; and war is the sharpest form and expression of these inter-imperialist competition, aggression and domination of the weaker states, the Trade and War forum can serve as a platform for highlighting the linkage between trade and war, and for expounding on and opposing imperialist plunder and war.


In particular, the forum, which will be in the nature of a teach-in or an education venue, will:
1. expose and oppose the WTO as an instrument of imperialist plunder of weaker economies;
2. demolish the myths of “free-trade” and neo-liberal globalization in the era of monopoly capital;
3. expose imperialism as the source of aggression, military intervention and war;
4. highlight the struggles of countries and peoples against imperialist plunder and war: share analysis, tactics, forms of organization and struggle; and help strengthen the broad anti-imperialist front that can sustain the struggle against imperialism

The forum will be a comprehensive critique of ten years of WTO. Such a critique, bolstered with empirical data and analysis, can present both a historical and theoretical critique of the WTO and imperialist globalization.

The speakers being invited were selected for their unrelenting efforts at opposing the WTO and its specific agreements and staunch advocacy against globalization. The speakers who might not be able to come to Hong Kong, like President Fidel Castro, President Hugo Chavez and ILPS Chairman Professor Jose Maria Sison will be requested to speak to the forum on video hook-up or video tape.

Proposed Forum Programme
and Invited Speakers

Forum on Trade and War
9:00am – 5:00pm, 14 December 2005
HKPA Center Stage, Victoria Park
Causeway Bay, Hongkong

09:00 a.m.

Welcome Address by:
Teddy Casino, Spokesperson, RESIST!
Apo Leung, HKPA (for confirmation)


Opening Address of the ILPS Chairman
Prof. Jose Maria Sison (on video)


Song: ILPS Hymn by the ILPS Philippine Chapter Chorale


Keynote Addresses

Historical Overview of Imperialist Globalization
(Fallacy of “Neo-Liberalism” and “Free Trade”
in the Era of Monopoly Capitalism)
by Dr. Jane Kelsey, New Zealand


Focus on the WTO and its Role in Imperialist Globalization
(Imperialist Collaboration and Competition
in Exploiting Weaker Economies Through the WTO)
by Antonio Tujan, Jr., APRN (Asia-Pacific Research Network)


Globalized Financial Markets and the Resultant Dynamics of Imperialist Interventions
by Dr. Haluk Gerger, Turkey


The Military Face of Globalization
(US Aggression and Provocation Amid the Current Crisis of the World Capitalist System)
by Dr. Carol Araullo, Chairperson, BAYAN and
Vice-Chairperson for External Affairs, ILPS

12:00 p.m. Lunch Break

01:25 pm

Slogan Chanting
Song: Wanted Pinay by Sining Lila


US Aggression and Provocation:
the Case of Venezuela
by Manuel Perez Iturbe, Charge d’Affaires
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
in the Philippines


the Case of Cuba
Invited: HE Jorge Jimenez, Ambassador
Embassy of Cuba in the Philippines


the Case of DPRK
by Pak Yong Gun, Esq.


Where Do We Go From Here
(Advance the Peoples’ Struggle Against Imperialism)
by Luis Jalandoni, Head of the Peace Negotiating Panel,
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)

Song: What Makes a Hero by Tess Galapon and Ofel Cantor


Sharing: Peoples’ Campaigns and Struggles Against the WTO
and Imperialist Plunder and War (10 minutes each)

Dalits and Women of Tamil Nadu – Fatima Burnad (for confirmation)
Brazil – Gonzalo Berron
Japan – Enats Goro (for confirmation)
Turkey – Aliyah (for confirmation)
Indonesia – Erpan Faryadi


Announcement of other People’s Events
Closing Remarks
Closing Song: The Guerilla is Like a Poet
by the ILPS Philippine Chapter Chorale
Slogan Chanting



Forum Secretariat

The forum’s secretariat, composed of Carol Araullo, Tita Lubi and Norma Biñas, is based in the offices of the ILPS Philippine Chapter and BAYAN (New Patriotic Alliance). Please send your e-mails to norbin_2001@yahoo.com cc titapl@tri-isys.com carola@tri-isys.com; and ilp515@runbox.com

Indonesian domestics score WTO for poverty in home country, wage cut and underpayment in HK

Press Release
19 November 2005

For reference: Eni Lestari
Tel. No.: 23147316, 96081405

The end of Ramadan or fasting month called Idul Fitri is an important religious occasion for all Muslims all over the world. For the millions of Muslim Indonesians, Idul Fitri this year is filled with uncertainty as prices of food and other basic commodities continue to rise in the country.

“We are the breadwinners of our families back home, with the worsening economic crisis in Indonesia; there is a demand for us to send more money for them to have a decent Idul Fitri celebration” says Eni Lestari of ATKI, an organisation of Indonesian migrant workers here in Hong Kong.

“With the opening-up of Indonesia market and the flooding-in of cheap agricultural products due to liberalisation, small Indonesians farmers are going bankrupt” adds Lestari who is one of the migrant leaders preparing for the celebration of Idul Fitri which will be held on Sunday, November 20 at the Central Lawn of Victoria Park.

This year’s celebration is different from the previous ones. This is in response to the upcoming WTO’s 6th Ministerial Conference which will be held in Hong Kong in December.

The celebration kicks off with a mass praying at 10 am and will be followed by religious speeches and cultural performances. The morning festivities will culminate with a Public Forum on the WTO which will start at 3 pm until 6:00 in the evening.

These activities are expected to gather around 2,000 Indonesians, mostly domestic helpers from different parts of Hong Kong.

“WTO promotes liberalization and it causes poverty back home. Our Public Forum aims to share information among Indonesian migrant workers of the impact of WTO on our lives as migrants and on our families in Indonesia explains Lestari.

This is further worsened by the attacks of the HK government on the wage of domestic workers.

“We suffered two wage cuts already because of the HK government’s adherence to neoliberal policies. Coupled with the widespread underpayment among Indonesian domestic workers, our situation has become even more unbearable,” Lestari adds.

ATKI is part of the Hong Kong People’s Alliance which is a multi-sectoral formation of different organisations opposing the WTO. According to Lestari, the Public Forum also aims to encourage migrants to join the People’s Action Week on the WTO in December.

The religious festivities are being organized by migrant groups including AKHWAT GAUL, AL FADHILA, AL ISTIQOMAH, AN-NISSA. The Public Forum meanwhile is being organized by ATKI.

Film exhibitions educate migrants on WTO

Alternative film documentaries became instruments for migrants’ education campaign against WTO.

In line with the preparations for the People’s Action Week against the WTO, the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-HK) held screening of different film documentaries that featured themes from the impacts of globalization to workers to the privatization of the educational system last November 6, 13 and 20.

According to Dolores Balladares, UNIFIL-HK chairperson, the series of film showing was done as part of the Education for Mobilization campaign of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) for the month of November to rally thousands of migrant workers for the coming December protest actions

Films that were shown were Ang Kaaway (The Enemy), Daluyong, Sa Ngalan ng Tubo and Misedukasyon (Miseducation). These were produced by independent groups such as Ibon Foundation and SIPAT.

The film exhibitions were sponsored by the UNIFIL-HK, Cordillera Alliance, Association of Filipino Women Migrants in HK, and the Philippine Independent Church (PIC) Council.

Indonesian Migrant Workers Rally to Junk WTO this December

On Sunday 13th November during Idul Fitri celebrations, as part of build up activities toward the campaign to Junk WTO and the upcoming MC6 meeting in Hong Kong, the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (ATKI) held mobile cultural presentations around Victoria Park in Hong Kong.

The main objective of the activity was to raise awareness of Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong on the destructive impacts of WTO to people worldwide and rally support for the peoples' action week this December. More than 30 members of ATKI including a Rebana cultural group (traditional music instrument of Indonesia) approached various groups of Indonesians who congregate in the area while singing progressive songs.

Accompanying the singing, other members discussed the issues surrounding the WTO and their impacts on Indonesian migrant workers. Aside from answering questions, thousands of copies of the ATKI news digest VOKAL, containing further evidence against the WTO, were also distributed throughout the campaign.
Parallel to the cultural event, Eni Lestari chairperson of ATKI, was invited by Al Istiqhomah International Moslem Society (AIMS) to give a speech to Indonesian migrant workers at Kowloon Park about the upcoming MC6. Her presentation was received well by the interested and interactive gathering of more than 30 members, who by the end, committed their support to join the People's Rally on the 11th and 18th December to Junk WTO.

    About Us

    We say "Junk WTO!" and we unite with everyone who opposes the WTO for various reasons. We encourage you to participate in the People's Action Week spearheaded by the HK Peoples' Alliance on WTO (HKPA) of which we are a part. We hope that this blog continues even after MC6 in Hong Kong.

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