Coalition launches nationwide campaign to derail WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong

April 15, 2005
MANILA — A year-long, nationwide campaign against a new round of trade liberalization was launched today in Manila by the Stop the New Round! Coalition.

The busy street of Morayta leading to Malacañan Palace in Manila turned into an ocean of colorful streamers, flags, banners and effigies as over 1,000 members of the SNR! coalition marched to Malacañan demanding that the Philippine government desist from making new commitments in the WTO that would further open the economy to the exigencies of global trade.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became the Queen of Spades in gigantic playing cards used by demonstrators as placards with the message “NO DEAL IN HONG KONG!” and “NO DEAL IS BETTER THAN A BAD DEAL!”

In a statement issued at the march, the coalition said “for Filipinos, the original commitments under the WTO agreements were painful enough, and failed to deliver the vaunted gains of liberalization.”

“Agriculture suffered the heaviest setback. National industrial policy was closed off by restrictive WTO agreements, resulting in many plants and factories closing down, and industrial employment stagnating. Aggravating the situation was the Government’s insipid attitude towards industry and agriculture, providing at best anemic support to the sectors” the coalition added

“The current negotiations, in both substance and process, have been biased against developing countries. That the Doha Round will be beneficial to developing countries is a myth, an illusion that must not be perpetuated” said Joseph Purugganan of Focus on the Global South.

“The so-called Doha Development agenda (DDA) is nothing but the embodiment of the WTO’s agenda of progressive liberalization” added Purugganan.

“This is just the beginning of a year-long campaign across the country to demonstrate and amplify the sentiments of the people against free trade and corporate-driven globalization. The poor and marginalized sectors from farmers, fishers, workers, and the urban poor are all demanding a respite from liberalization” said Gina dela Cruz of Alab Katipunan. “We will exert every effort to see to it that no deal to further liberalize our economy would come out of the ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong in December” dela Cruz added.

The SNR Campaign was launched in Cebu last 14 April and will be launched in Davao City on 18 April 2005.
For inquiries please contact Joseph Purugganan of the SNR! Secretariat at 433-1676 or 909173874531 or email at josephp@focusweb.org

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