Grassroots NGO lists 5 reasons vs $1-billion Philippine loan to IMF
Kampanya Para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) lists five arguments against the $1 billion Philippine loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF):
1. Filipinos need that money.
Many don’t live a life of dignity. Of the 90 million Filipinos, 60 million remain poor, 30 million live on less than $1 a day, 22 million go hungry, at least 12 million are without jobs, and at least 2.5 million are homeless in Metro Manila alone.
2. The amount can be spent on more pressing needs.
One billion dollars can build 105,000 socialized housing units at P400,000 per unit, hire 350,000 health workers receiving P10,000 a month for one year, and provide 700,000 elderly people a monthly pension of P5,000 for one year.
3. Filipinos were not consulted on this loan.
According to Central Bank Vice-Governor Diwa Gunigundo, the Philippines can afford to give out loans because it has a huge gross international reserve (GIR), currently at US$77 Billion, and the country has finished its debt payments to IMF since 2006. He also said the GIR cannot be used for purposes other than being a reserve, even funding government programs.
So what’s the Aquino policy on reserves? Who decides on what to do with the money? Why were the Filipino people not consulted on this critical decision? Not even indirectly through the budget process.
4. Filipinos are victims of IMF policies.
Many Filipinos have remained poor because of stringent IMF conditions when it lent (not gave) money to the Philippines. It required the deregulation and privatization of key industries at the expense of basic social services, and the liberalization of Philippine economy that allowed the massive exploitation of the country’s natural resources with little return to its citizens in terms of social protection programs. These policies have resulted in a stunted Philippine economy with huge under- and unemployment rates.
The country remains in deep debt, with P357 billion of the country’s P1.8 trillion 2012 budget allocated to debt servicing. Filipinos are thus asking, why is the victim supporting its tormentor?
5. The IMF-supported profit-driven system is a failure.
The collapse of the US and European economies shows that the economic system that puts profit above people and planet is a failure. And the affected citizens, through Occupy movements in the US and Indignants protest actions in Europe, are already looking for alternatives. So why is the Philippine government supporting the purveyor of the system that has failed us and even themselves?
What is KAMP?
The Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) is a network of grassroots organizations advocating for a rights-based approach to social protection, particularly for decent and affordable housing, food security, employment guarantees, universal health care, education for all, and pension for the elderly and persons with disability. KAMP leads in the formation of the Asia-wide Network for Transformative Social Protection (NTSP), which now has campaign partners in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, advocating for a life of dignity for all.
Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, KAMP lead convenor, 0918 903 8687
Wilson Fortaleza, KAMP coordinator, 0905 373 2185 and 0922 526 1138