THE Alliance of Progressive Labor voiced its outrage over the unjust deportation yesterday of its secretary general as well as five other Philippine activists who were supposed to attend a parallel forum to the G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea.
“We hold the government of President Lee Myung-bak responsible for this hostile and illegal action, including the rough treatment our comrades suffered from Korean immigration officers who, following orders from you, were utterly devoid of decency, humanity and transparency,” Edwin Bustillos, APL Deputy Secretary General, said.
He added that the Korean government’s “security paranoia and twisted aversion to civil society, including even the legitimate parallel assembly to the G-20, is like a return to the past military dictatorships in Korea and the martial law regime here in the Philippines, and like an obedient canine bowing to his rich corporate masters in the G-20.”
Nothing demonstrates the true nature of G20 than the fact that while it is detaining and deporting activists from the global south, it was busy preparing to have a dialogue with the world’s top 120 corporate leaders. “This only confirms what we have been saying all along, that we can’t allow the G20 to decide the fate of everyone in this planet as it is patently undemocratic and anti-people,” Bustillos said.
The Filipino “G-20 deportees” are Josua Mata, APL secretary general; Joseph Purugganan of the Focus on the Global South; Ma. Lorena Macabuag, Migrant Forum Asia; Rogelio Soluta, Kilusang Mayo Uno; Paul Quintos, Ibon; and progressive musician Jess Santiago.
They and many other activists throughout the world were invited by several Korean civil society organizations under the Korean People’s G20 Response Action, including the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), to participate in different programs of a “parallel forum” to the official G-20 Economic Summit on Nov. 11-12.
Immigration officials detained the Philippine delegation immediately after deplaning at Incheon International Airport telling the Filipinos that they were “blacklisted” and were forced to board the 9:30 p.m. flight back to Manila. But the Korean authorities failed to present any written explanation on the blacklisting.
The Korean hosts of the Filipino delegates also protested the detention and deportation of their guests.
“President Lee Myung-bak and the G20 will never succeed in stifling voices of the people from the Global South,” Bustillos declared. APL will heed the call of the People’s Action Against the G20 to intensify actions against G20.
G-20 is officially called the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from 20 economies – 19 countries and one representative from the European Union. While it comprises a large chunk of the global economy, the G-20 – like the WTO, IMF and the WB – is effectively controlled or heavily influenced by governments of a few rich nations and their transnational corporations, thus proposed policies are usually biased to the latter. And just like in the WTO, the G-20 is also beset by concerns on lack of transparency and its prejudice on anti-poor neoliberal economic programs.