MILITANT labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Saturday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to translate his “independent foreign policy towards a pro-Filipino economic framework.”
“By this we mean working towards a self-reliant economy through national industrialization and genuine land reform,” Elmer Labog, the group’s chairman, said in a statement.
Labog said workers support the President’s move to be on equal footing with the US.
“We urge Duterte to immediately put into writing his assertions for an independent foreign policy. He can start by issuing an order to junk the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement which allows increased US military presence and permanent basing in the country in gross violation of our sovereignty,” he said.
The group, however, claimed the President’s independent foreign policy would not be realized if the administration’s economic framework remained subservient to US “neoliberal policies” of privatization, liberalization, deregulation and denationalization.
“Such policies have subjected Filipino workers and people to decades of worsening hunger and poverty,” Labog claimed.
The labor leader also urged Duterte to junk his administration’s 10-point economic agenda, saying it blatantly negated his “pro-worker, pro-people and patriotic sentiments.”
“The programs drafted by his economic managers are mere photocopies of previous administrations’ neoliberal economic policies that paved the way for widespread labor contractualization and further pressing down of workers’ wages through wage rationalization,” Labog said.
He called on the government to instead adopt the socioeconomic proposal of communist rebel negotiators in ongoing peace taks in Norway.
“President Duterte can choose to take the path towards developing a genuinely self-reliant national economy by adopting as his economic development program the National Democratic Front of the Philippines’s draft for a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms of National Industrialization and Genuine Land Reform,” he added.