Economists and financial institutions have warned that the global economy this year may face a downturn worse than the financial crisis in 2008. The global crisis has highlighted the need to explore radical solutions outside the neoliberal globalization framework.
To give a venue to raise awareness on genuine alternatives to neoliberal globalization, research group IBON will launch a nationwide lecture series campaign on national economics in 2012.
The research group has already started with discussions on economic nationalism in November 2011 with a study group among members of the Educators' Forum for Development (EfD). Organized by the IBON Partnership for Education and Development (IPED), the discussion was attended by Social Studies teachers in NCR, and posed the challenge of teaching nationalism among young students. The teachers freely shared their experiences and predicaments with regard to teaching social studies and inspiring social change in a society where change seems rather elusive. The study group concluded with all parties rising up to the challenge of integrating economic nationalism in their syllabus.
Also in November, Filipino businessmen, scientists and economists made up a lively panel in the forum "The Need for National Industrialization and the Role of SMEs"co-sponsored with NEPA. Numerous insights and suggestions not only regarding industrialization and Filipino medium and small enterprises but also for follow-up discussions for this advocacy highlighted the open forum. IBON underscored the potentials of SMEs in promoting real industrial development in the Philippines; the need for pro-Filipino and pro-SME government support and protection; and the important role of social movements that will advance the call and its materialization.
Earlier in September 2011, the crisis of the Philippine economy was tackled with US credit downgrade and EU sovereign debts as the backdrop in a forum titled "US, EU Debt Woes: What it Means for the Philippines”. With IBON partner National Economic Protection Association's (NEPA) chairperson Bayan Dela Cruz in the panel, the forum featured calls for domestic-focused development amid a volatile and uncertain global situation.
In October, renewed initiatives to change the economic provisions of the Philippine constitution were center of attention in the forum "Charter Change: Implications on the Philippine Economy". During the forum, Gabriela Partylist Representative Luzviminda Ilagan narrated the status of the push for charter change at the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Danilo Ramos, secretary general Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and one of the panelists in the forum, shared how charter change will further open up the agriculture sector to business interests at the expense of Filipino farmers.
A round table discussion in December titled "Development Brings Peace" saw the gathering of peace advocates and stakeholders in the objective of continuously broadening peace constituency and discussing current efforts to tackle socio-economic reforms in the peace talks. The need to substantially address socio-economic problems to attain peace was brought to fore. Based on this, representatives from the church, business academe, peace negotiating panels representatives and other peace advocates shared ideas on how to further build momentum to advance the peace negotiations, all agreeing on the urgency of peace education.
The series of discussions in 2011 was part of IBON;s celebration of its 33rd year themed “Promoting Economics for the People”. The research group opened the new year with a successful IBON Yearend Birdtalk last week titled “Beyond the political spectacle, is real change in sight?” at the UP Law Center and College of Law.
Students, teachers, non-government organizations and representatives from the government, business and religious sectors were among the participants in the briefing, which discussed the economic and political assessment in 2011 and prospects for 2012. This year's Birdtalk was organized in partnership with the UP Diliman University Student Council and the UP Diliman Center for Nationalist Studies. (end)