“While the world’s political and corporate elites gather in the Alpine winter resort of Davos, we will on the other hand converge and hold our activities in a depressed urban poor community to demonstrate the contrast of interests and agenda between the World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum,” said U.P. professor and activist Walden Bello, of the Focus on The Global South, during the January 22 Press Conference to annouce the Global Action Day in Manilla, Phillipinas.
In response to the WSF Global Call for Action and in the hope of advancing their advocacies, a number of social movements and civil society organizations in the Philippines have come together as a collective to plan for a week-long series of mobilizations, forums, seminars, meetings, press conferences, film screenings, plays, concert, and other actions.
Most of these events will be held under makeshift tents in a “People’s Camp” set in an urban poor community at Barangay Bagong Pagasa (North Triangle), Quezon City on January 25.
The worldwide actions and activities will culminate on January 26, 2008, coinciding with the last day of the Davos meeting, during which thousands of Filipino activists are set to rally and march towards the presidential palace on Mendiola Bridge.
The organizers also chided President Gloria Arroyo for flaunting the country’s purported economic performance, including a stronger peso and increasing GNP and GDP growth rates. “Her single-focused monetarist policy for a strong peso has been hurting local producer-exporters and overseas Filipino workers who ironically contribute significantly to the country’s income. Despite a stronger peso, Filipinos bear the brunt of spiraling oil prices, increased taxes, and deteriorating government services,” averred Gigi Francisco of the International Gender and Trade Network.
The theme unifying the groups involved is “On with the Struggle: Jobs and Justice, Land and Freedom Now!” It was chosen in response to the widespread feeling of demoralization and growing sense of hopelessness among the marginalized sectors in Philippine society brought about by the current domestic political situation – a feeling that has set in even within the movements for social justice and change.
This week’s observance of global protest seeks to highlight people’s resistances and alternatives to the dominant neo-liberal model of globalization. “People around the globe are challenging the current global economic system ruled by corporate monopolies and finding alternatives to it. There are examples in Latin America, Africa as well as in Asia, which prove that we can build another possible world from the disarray of the global economic system. This is the only chance for people to regain our humanity and freedoms,” declared Lidy Nacpil of the global anti-debt campaign Jubilee South.
As such, the Global Week of Action and Mobilization in the Philippines is aimed at reinvigorating and energizing the Philippine movements as the struggle continues. At the same time, to counter people’s seeming resignation to the current situation and their paralysis in the face of this, the movements seek to send the message that change is not only possible but also necessary and that change cannot happen without the people taking action.
The Global Week of Action and Mobilization in the Philippines will be a combination of mass mobilizations, protest actions, educational forums and discussions, film screenings and other cultural events, culminating in a march to the presidential palace on January 26. Many of these events will be self-organized by various organizations and coalitions; others will be organized by the Global Week of Action and Mobilization collective.
Tentative schedule (as of 9 January 2008):
Jan 21: Fluvial parade in Manila Bay
Jan 22: Farmers’ march to Presidential Palace
Jan 23: Anti-War march to US embassy in Manila
Jan 24: Workers’ march/ Simultaneous Local Action on Environmental
Jan 25: People’s Camp for Change: with forums, workshops, concert, etc to be held in an urban poor community in Quezon City
Jan 26: Global Day of Action: March to presidential palace
Other events organized by groups that form part of this collective are also registered on www.wsf2008.net
Convenors as of 9 January 2008): Alab Katipunan, Alliance of Progressive Labor, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Assalam, Action and Solidarity for the Empowerment of Teachers (Assert), Bisig, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Focus on the Global South, Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) -Philippines, Jubilee South, Kalayaan!, Kilusan para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (KTRA), Kilusang Mangingisda, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya, KaisaKa (Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan), KPML, International Gender & Trade Network, LUPA (League of Urban Poor for Action), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (Makabayan), Partido Kalikasan (Philippine Green Party)-Metro Manila Airshed, Partido ng Manggagawa, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Sanlakas, Stop the New Round – Philippines, Stop the War Coalition – Philippines, Teachers Dignity Coalition
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