The TPP will undermine people’s rights and prevent national development
Research group IBON said that the Philippine government should reconsider joining the contentious Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) because it will undermine people’s rights and prevent national development.
Led by the United States, the TPP was signed yesterday in New Zealand by twelve countries amid protests across the region like in Auckland and Kuala Lumpur. Critics are alarmed over the immense bias of the TPP for corporate interests and the vast coverage of economic areas the TPP wants to control. These include allowing foreign corporations to invest in public utilities and social services.
Despite the wide opposition, the Philippine government has been aggressively seeking to be a TPP member. In fact, in an apparent move to qualify for TPP membership, Congress rushed the approval of HB6395 this week. The bill allows lending companies, financing companies and investment houses in the country to be owned 100% by foreign nationals.
According to IBON, the recently-signed bill is a result of vigorous lobbying by the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce and the US Embassy. But while US Ambassador Philip Goldberg lauded the passage of HB6395, he said that there are still obstacles to the country’s membership to the TPP such as restrictions to foreign participation in land ownership enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
The country’s experience with unbridled liberalization makes the government’s bid to join the TPP extremely irrational, the group said. The TPP is based on the obsolete and failed model of free trade agreements that seriously challenge the country’s autonomy in pursuing real development. Government should thus resist the self-interested lobbying of foreign governments and transnational corporations, said the group.