As President Arroyo flies to Davos, Switzerland today to join 27 heads of states and thousands of business leaders from all over the globe for the annual World Economic Forum, Filipino activists, labor, farmers’ and environmental groups are, on the other hand, taking part in a concerted global protest action across various parts of the world from January 22 – 26, 2008.
Organized by the World Social Forum, an umbrella and loose network of activists, social movements and anti-globalization critics, the weeklong protest activities dubbed “Global Week of Mobilization and Action” aims to project on the global center- stage the various local, national and global struggles, resistances and movements against the devastation and alienation caused by “corporate-driven, neo-liberal globalization”. 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.
Carrying the theme “Another World is Possible”, the World Social Forum has been held annually since 2001 in various cities such as Porto Alegre, Brazil (2001-2003, 2005), in Mumbai, India (2004), in Bamako (Africa), Karachi (Asia), and Caracas (Americas) in 2006 and last year in Nairobi, Kenya as a counterpoint to the World Economic Forum.
The Filipino organizers have chosen the theme “Another Philippines is Possible; on with the struggle for jobs and justice, land and freedom” that will serve as the rallying call for a week packed with a series of mobilizations, forums, seminars, as well as alternative film screenings and concert. 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.
“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.
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 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.
Don Pangan (cp#09204016965)
Dj Janier (cp#09178016650)