“The new $434-M compact grant given to the Philippines by the US government-sponsored Millennium Change Corporation (MCC) is nothing but a carrot stick to further Washington’s greater inroads into the Philippine economy under President Aquino,” said Terry Ridon, national chairperson of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), in reaction to the reported elation of the Aquino government over such funding. It is supposedly for the building of roads and other social services.
Ridon said such grants are reminiscent of the notorious “structural adjustment programs” of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that compelled developing nations like the Philippines to drastically remove what remained of pro-people economic policies in exchange for “development aid.”
“The Aquino government would view this new grant as an incentive to further open the economy for US interests and capital without regard to the public’s concern over plunder of natural resources and national patrimony,” Ridon warned.
He said that Pres. Aquino’s general economic plan towards public-private partnerships is clearly in line with the demands of the US government to allow heightened US investments in the country as among the requirements for inclusion in the MCC.
Instead of relying on foreign loans with unjust conditionalities to supposedly develop the nation, the Aquino government should commit to an immediate distribution of agricultural lands to the country’s landless and poor farmers, as in Hacienda Luisita, Ridon said.
In recent years, the passage of the 12-percent Value Added Tax is one example of what the international funding institutions required the Philippines to enact into law so the country could continue availing foreign loans and grants.