KASAMA Vol. 13 No. 2 / April–May–June 1999 /Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Statement of the Philippine Jubilee 2000 Debt Campaign, June 1999

The Philippine government’s "honor all debts" policy has placed an insupportable weight on the Filipino people. Public foreign and domestic debt has demanded service payments of over 40% of the country’s annual budget in the 1980s and an average annual share of 33% between 1990 and 1997. Interest payments in 1999 eat up 20% of the national budget.

A central issue in the government’s debt policy is the Automatic Appropriations Law (Section 26b Book VI of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987). It provides for automatic appropriation for debt service and gives the government legal license to place debt service above all other spending. This law must be repealed!

The poor pay for most of the country’s debt. They pay for it with stiffer taxes, with higher prices and reduced subsidies, and with non–existent basic services. Yet, they have not benefited from these debts that were mostly used for unproductive projects and programs, support for repressive policies, further enriching political cronies and economic elites. This situation is shared by other south countries. Justice demands that the poor stop paying for immoral, illegitimate, fraudulent and onerous debts!

We call for your support and participation in the Philippine Jubilee 2000 campaign for changes in the Philippine government’s debt policies and for the immediate repeal of the automatic appropriations law. Let us also join hands with our brothers and sisters around the world for a comprehensive campaign to break free from debt and domination!

(Statement signed by campaigners and endorsers of the Philippine Jubilee 2000 Campaign including 121 prominent individuals from the church sector, government, academe, civic leaders, non–government and people’s organisations.)

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) has lined up activities building to the Global Week of Action Against Debt during June 12 to 19.

The initial list of Philippine Jubilee 2000 endorsers and campaigners from all over the country and the Philippine petition to repeal the automatic appropriations law will be presented at a Media Launch on June 7.

A week after the national launch, FDC Chapters together with local church officials and organizations will conduct simultaneous regional launches. On June 14, the debt petition will be launched in Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Tacloban, Davao, Zamboanga, Western Mindanao, Cotabato, and General Santos City.

On the same day, a common statement signed by the campaign endorsers will come out as a paid advertisement in a national daily.

In solidarity with the international call to cancel the debts of southern countries, there will be mobilizations at G–7 embassies in Manila on June 17 and 18. The protest actions will coincide with international activities organized during the summit of the G–8 countries in Cologne, Germany.

The Philippine Jubilee 2000 debt campaign carries an immediate call for the repeal of the Philippines Automatic Appropriations Law, an unjust law that allows the government to place debt servicing above the welfare of the people. The campaign aims to collect a million signatures by the year 2000 to pressure Congress to repeal the law.

Source: Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines