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May 22, 2014

Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today picketed the East Asia World Economic Forum (WEF) in Makati City and denounced the event as “an occasion for monopoly capitalists and their lackeys to discuss how to further bleed the world of profits while making themselves
look good.”

The group also slammed Pres. Benigno Aquino for “window-dressing the Philippine economy before the global elite to hide the fact that poverty has worsened and corruption is as rampant as ever.”

“It is just sick for the Aquino administration to claim that the Philippines is the ‘next Asian miracle’ when we all know that poverty, hunger, unemployment, skyrocketing prices and corruption is as worse as ever. Mr. Aquino and his fans in the WEF may dream on, but the reality is that his people are suffering from his failed economic policies,” said Bayan leader and former party list congressman Teddy Casino.

Citing official statistics, Bayan said the 7.1% unemployment rate in the Philippines, though under-reported, remains the highest in Asia and among the worst in the world. Thailand is at 0.7%, Singapore at 2.1%, Korea at 2.8%, Malaysia at 3.1%, Vietnam at 3.6%, China at 4%, Taiwan at 4.2% and Indonesia at 6.3%.

Meanwhile, the official number of poor families increased by 10.6% between 2006-2012, or 405,638 families. This despite P76.1 billion spent on cash transfers and government dole-outs in the same period.

The Philippines also has the distinction of having the highest power and water rates in Asia.

“Pres. Aquino is no different from his predecessor Gloria Arroyo who boasted of 7% plus GDP growth rates and glowing upgrades from credit rating agencies. He is equally guilty of implementing neoliberal economic policies that hurt the poor and benefit only his circle of powerful elite families and their foreign partners,” added Casino.

The group decried the WEF and Aquino government’s thrust to further liberalize the economy, privatize water services, public hospitals and other public utilities and government services, and open up more sectors to foreign capital, stressing that it is precisely these policies that have hurt the poor, destroyed the domestic economy and used up the natural resources of many poor countries.

“For ordinary farmers, workers and the vast majority of ordinary people, such policies mean higher prices of utilities and basic commodities, layoffs and depressed wages, the plunder of the national patrimony, massive poverty and underdevelopment. For them, WEF means ‘World Epic Fail.'” said Casino.

On Friday afternoon, Bayan, together with IBON Philippines, will be holding a counterpoint forum on the WEF at 1:00 p.m. the Shalom Center in Manila City. Media coverage is requested.#

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