Scientists unite with other sectors to call for national industrialization

Posted:

September 16, 2016

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Various sectors gathered together in a public forum on Wednesday, September 14, to discuss the prospects of national industrialization in the country especially in light of the recently resumed peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The forum served to unite the urban poor, peasants, trade unions, academe, scientists and engineers, private sector, and other groups in the call for national industrialization.

The public forum, entitled The Change We Need: A Public Forum on National Industrialization, was spearheaded by scientist activist group AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the People together with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp., IBON Foundation, Agham Youth UP Diliman, and Bayan Muna Partylist.

“The pursuit of national industrialization is an essential part in achieving the change that we truly need. It will support the reversal of the backward, agrarian, and pre-industrial economy that has driven our country to unemployment, hunger, and poverty for decades. National industrialization is crucial in attaining the genuine economic progress and development aspired by the people,” said Dr. Giovanni Tapang, national chairperson of AGHAM.

Referring to our current situation, Sonny Africa of IBON Foundation attributed the high level of unemployment and backward economy of the country to the fact that we are not a producer economy but a service-oriented one. This was elaborated further by Dr. Menandro Berana of the UP College of Engineering who explained that service industries have a low value-added level in production which create very few jobs compared to manufacturing industries.

“It’s cheaper to import the goods we lack than to invest in producing them,” said Rafael Hidalgo of Steel Asia, who spoke as a part of the manufacturing industry. Narrating the experiences of his company in building the domestic steel industry, he emphasized that the hindrances to reaching the maximum capacity of our steel industry can easily be solved by economic policies which promote national industrialization such as exiting from unfair global trade agreements which hurt our domestic industries.

According to Tapang, this a reflection of the country’s current economic set-up where the demand is centered on importing raw materials and exporting skilled labor rather than on developing domestic industries. He said that science and technology practitioners, who have a crucial role to play in industrialization, are not exempt from this set-up which force them to venture abroad in search for jobs. “Through national industrialization, we will create a local demand for research and development that will give opportunities for our Filipino scientists. It will pave the way for the development of science and technology and in the long run will lead to a self-reliant economy,” explained Tapang.

National industrialization is on the main agenda of the next round of GPH-NDFP peace talks which will tackle the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). Adelberto Silva, NDFP consultant and a member of the reciprocal working committee on social and economic reforms, said that the armed conflict is rooted in the social injustice and poverty experienced by the Filipino masses. He added that the CASER will lay down the policies and regulations to help resolve the ongoing social injustice and put an end to the armed conflict.

“This is a momentous occasion. We have various sectors uniting in the call for national industrialization at a time where the people can be hopeful to see change that we want from this administration. But the people should not be complacent; only through collective efforts of the Filipino people can we achieve national industrialization and genuine national development,” ended Tapang.

For reference:

Giovanni Tapang
Chairperson
AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the People
(02) 998 4226