Cordillera Groups Hit ASEAN Anti-terror, Agri Pacts

Cordillera-based organizations denounced the agreements on anti-terrorism and agriculture made at the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu.

Northern Dispatch
Reposted by Bulatlat

BAGUIO CITY (246 kms from Manila) – Cordillera-based organizations last week denounced the agreements on anti-terrorism and agriculture made at the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu.

Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) chairperson Beverly Longid said that the ASEAN covenant on anti-terrorism signed last January 16 would worsen the already escalating political killings in the country.

“This is really a cause for alarm especially to legitimate progressive organizations the Macapagal-Arroyo administration tagged as terrorist organizations,” Longid said, adding that most victims of political killings are members and supporters of these organizations.

She said that the covenant does not have a clear definition of a terrorist or a terrorist act. “It could be any organization or anybody who is critical of the government.”

Longid added that it is the latest effort of the United States to protect its political and economic hegemony in Asia specifically with ASEAN members. With the covenant, she said that anti-terror measures would now be implemented at the regional level.

As this developed, Alyansya dagiti Pesante iti Taeng Kordilyera (Apit Tako) spokesperson Fernando Bagyan said that the ASEAN agreement on agriculture would only worsen the impoverished state of small farmers in the country. He cited as an example the government’s bilateral agreement with China to invest P240 billion ($4.89 billion, based on an exchange rate of P49.09 per US dollar) worth of agricultural projects. He said that because of the failure of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to forge agreements on agriculture, more developed countries resorted to other bilateral and multilateral agreements.

Bagyan said that the Arroyo administration facilitated the entry of imported vegetables that would stamp out small farmers. He said that Cordillera farmers will lose on the said agreement, despite news that China would open its market for fruits from the Philippines.

“Only multi-national companies like Dole would benefit from this agreement.” He said that the agricultural agreement has adverse impact on the country’s food security as crops would be produced for export and not for local consumption.

He said that the agreement included the importation of vegetables from neighboring countries and the development of 200,000 hectares for rice, corn and sorghum production to be exported to East Asian countries that are experiencing food insufficiency.

Bagyan said that instead of forging agreements with more advanced countries, the Macapagal-Arroyo administration should instead adopt a genuine and pro-farmer agriculture policy. He said that the government should develop agricultural technology and use traditional crops and agriculture practices for the Filipino people and not for export. (

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