“Strengthening Our Unity and Face the Challenges of the New Millennium” –gains deeper meaning as we, as one nation and people, try to visualize the challenges that lie ahead. For me, there is but one singular challenge of the new millennium. This is the challenge of globalization and how to cope with its fast and dizzying pace.
Historically, coops have been formed mostly by lower-income families in a community to promote their well-being and eventually become self-reliant. Today, their very presence has metamorphosed into a critical role – that of being a countervailing force mitigating the negative repercussions of growth strategies that often neglect environmental accountability and people empowerment. We all hope to see the day when cooperatives shall truly become the building blocks of nation-building.
Fourteen years after the fall of the most oppressive government in post-war Philippine history, violations of campus press freedom remain rampant nationwide. These include the outright closure of student newspapers, the suspension or expulsion of editors and staff, censorship, withholding of newspaper funds, and so many other forms and patterns of harassment and intimidation.
What our own national government needs to understand is that unrest and rebellion thrive on the institutionalized violence of poverty, neglect and human rights abuses. As I stated in the first regional consultation of the human rights working group in Cordillera which bears repeating, the spreading conflagration in Mindanao is a bleak reminder of how the old injuries of the past have returned to haunt the present because they were left to fester unresolved.
The government must immediately undertake a national peace policy that will shift the emphasis from a military solution to a negotiated-oriented resolution directed at the attainment of a just, principled, and enduring peace.
These are difficult times for many Filipinos. The peso is plunging. Oil price hikes and that of other commodities appear unstoppable. Joblessness is widespread. Mass poverty and environmental degradation are worsening, symbolized by the recent tragedy of the garbage village of Payatas. Sa ganitong kalagayan, saan patungo ang ating bansa? Sa larangan ng ekonomiya, ano ang dapat gawin?
In today’s era of globalization, global trade is no longer governed by the usual goods and services that we are so familiar with. The world is now rapidly being moved by information technology, the so-called “knowledge economy” powered by human brain power that designs programs to quickly shift capital from one country to another. In this changing landscape, we need to invest in what is now labeled as “social infrastructure,” a key component of which is our people’s education.
Poverty is a cancer that threatens not only the individual but also society as a whole. It robs us of our dignity. And as it polarizes society into the haves and have-nots, it tears at the very fabric that binds society. History documents how poverty fanned the flames of unrest and rebellion.
What future is awaiting the nation’s youth? Clearly, the fiscal and debt crisis haunting the nation today is also a crisis of the youth, those who will manage the affairs of our society years from now.
Bakit? Bakit nagkaganito ang ating bayan – ang unang bayan sa Asya na nag-alsa laban sa dayuhang kolonyalismo? Bakit matapos ang anim na dekada ng Independence, magmula l946, parang di umuusad ang ating bayan? Bakit ang Pilipinas, na pumapangalawa sa Hapon noong l960s sa usapin ng industrial development sa Asya, ay isa sa mga kulelat sa ating rehiyon ngayon?
We live in extremely difficult times. Today there are more poor Filipinos than at any time in recent Philippine history. According to the official census, there are now more than 31 million Filipinos, or almost 40 percent of the population, who are poor.
Fair Trade Alliance believed that the fiscal crisis is rooted in the industrial crisis. One reason for the declining tax intake of the government is precisely the shrinking industrial sector, the most taxable among the different economic sectors (services, agriculture and overseas employment). The formally registered enterprises have been going down since the mid-1990s. As a result, the number of employed enterprise workers went down from six million in 1999 to 5.7 million in 2003.
March 8, 2014, Cocoon Boutique Hotel
Quezon City, Philippines