Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Country for Sale

Is this country coming apart at the seams? We cannot seem to rationally put together land, labour and capital to create anything of value the world market might want, the way other countries on the path to capitalist development have done. We export our people to import capital. And now, the highest law of the land looks set to be modified by any means possible so we can sell land to foreigners as well.

This country's history, for as long as the written word has existed here, has always been inextricably linked with the the fortunes of the global economy. We were an outpost of the Spanish empire for centuries - a source of raw materials and a strategic Asian entrepot in the Spanish global commodity chain. A change in global hegemonic fortunes then transferred Philippine sovereignty to Americans, resulting to the century-long socio-cultural, politico-military, and economic ties we maintain with this country, the heart of the capitalist world system.

As the global recession continues to deepen, we see a bizarre trend of hedge funds, investment houses and pension funds abandoning derivative markets to seek refuge in land. GRAIN, an NGO based in Spain, last year compiled a hundred cases of these financial institutions and key nation-states leasing or purchasing land overseas to acquire non-volatile investments, and to grow food for their populations and to manufacture biofuels.

The photo below shows the extent of this global landgrab, the Philippines, according to GRAIN, has promised 1.2 million hectares to foreigners.

The country has agreements with various Gulf States to 'outsource' agriculture - countries such as United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Speaker Prospero Nograles met with the Saudi Agriculture Minister early this year to discuss the oil exporter's 'food security.'

Food security also ranks high among China's priorities with its burgeoning population and arable lands being converted into industrial zones. If the amendment to allow foreign ownership of land makes it through, China may yet get the 1.24 million hectares it was promised in 2007.

The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law may be shelved indefinitely as the compulsary acquisition mode of land transfer has been scrapped for the year. CARP beneficiaries may be more than willing to sell their land to foreign investors given the opportunity. If this trend happens in a mass scale - I don't know how we can feed 90 million Filipinos.

I am not convinced that our factors of production scattered in the four winds is the way to achieve any sort of economic development. Rep. Garcia including the word 'sustainable' in his sponsorship speech last night is rubbing salt to injury.

Just when I thought I've seen the leaders of this country sink the lowest of the low - they outdo themselves even more. The interests of the the Filipino nation and future generations are every day being sacrificed to the stupidity and blind greed of today.

Onward to Fourth World status by 2020!

No comments: