Research group IBON said that national industrialization is the way to go in order for the Filipino majority to prosper. It should be made the government’s primary economic strategy, the group said.
IBON co-sponsored last Wednesday a forum titled “The Change We Need” with top earner Steel Asia, science and technology network AGHAM, AGHAM Youth and patriotic formations Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Bayan Muna Partylist. Attendees included engineers, scientists, key industry figures, people’s organizations and other like-minded groups and individuals open to advancing national industrialization.
The group reiterated that industrial backwardness, underdevelopment, arnand agriculture and manufacturing decline are results of decades-old globalization policies that have plagued the Philippine economy. These policies have aggravated joblessness, proliferated poor quality work, reinforced poverty and systematically kept wages low and social services and utilities run by private firms at prices unaffordable by many Filipinos.
Despite the Philippine economic potential with its rich natural resources and 103 million population, it is facing the worst jobs crisis in history as well as worsening poverty, said IBON. There are 28.7 million unemployed, non-regular, agency-hired, informal sector, and unpaid family workers in the country, and 12 million Filipinos working overseas. Faced with consistently low incomes, about 80% of the population are trying to survive on less than Php120 per day. Meanwhile one-fourth or 26% of Filipinos are in extreme poverty.
IBON said that by taking concrete steps towards national industrialization, joblessness and poverty can also be genuinely resolved. President Duterte can first make the bold step of declaring national industrialization as the major strategy of Philippine development. This can be followed by laying down the key elements of this strategy like implementing genuine agrarian reform and upholding workers’ and the people’s rights and welfare. This can include launching a “Buy Filipino, Build Filipino” campaign and prioritizing the provision of social services and public utilities.
Other concrete steps that the current government can implement is reclaiming and asserting Philippine economic sovereignty by reviewing all international trade and investment agreements. It can also give immediate relief to Filipino manufacturers.
IBON said that in itself the forum is a welcome and initial step in the direction of the country’s genuine industrialization. The group hopes that the Duterte administration will also put the needs of the Filipino majority first so that meaningful economic change can truly happen.###