NEPA seeks renewed ties with Malacañang
“I think it is time to renew out ties with government to make headways in our pursuit of national economic self-sufficiency," said Bayan de la Cruz, newly elected president of the National Economic Protectionism Association (NEPA).
As a first step to building renewed ties with government, the induction of NEPA’s new set of officers was held in Malacañang on Friday, De la Cruz said.
No less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inducted the new set of NEPA officers at the Palace’s Rizal Hall.
Among those present in the induction were Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza and representatives of the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
In an interview with GMANews.TV, De la Cruz said that “The onslaught of globalization, which has been facilitated by government policy of opening up the national economy to foreign capital and competition, has marginalized the Filipino entrepreneur."
According to De la Cruz, the opening up of the national economy to foreign capital has triggered a “dependency" of the country’s economy.
“Because our national industry has been stunted due to lack of protection of local industries from big foreign competition, the country has not achieved self-sufficiency," he said, adding that the Philippine economy has remained for decades import-dependent and export-oriented.
He said that the failure of our the country’s economy to become self-sufficient can be traced to unfair trade policies dictated on us by foreign capital, giving foreign traders undue advantage over local entrepreneurs.
According to him, to revisit the old ties with the seat of government might open up new windows for NEPA to pursue its agenda.
After the induction of officers at the Palace, NEPA shared its newly launched 10-point agenda for the new decade.
According to De la Cruz, the crusade for political independence during the colonial period stimulated a parallel campaign for economic freedom in early 1900s.
He said the NEPA was born out of the historic necessity to hasten the industrial development of the country under colonial powers.
The centuries of Spanish rule and decades of “free trade" under the Americans made the Philippines dependent on the outside world on almost every manufactured commodity—from toothpicks to nails! [see: National Economic Protectionism Association]
The dream of achieving economic independence led to the founding of NEPA in late 1934.
Right after its founding, NEPA launched a nation-wide campaign to promote economic protectionism, which paved the way for “Filipino first, others later" advocacy.
Due to the global economic crisis in the 1960s, the Diosdado Macapagal administration put an end to the “Filipino First" policy. Decontrols, peso devaluation and open-door to foreign investors became the order of the day.
This policy reversal, formulated by the International Monetary Fund and implemented by a rising group of so-called technocrats, was continued in the first term of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
In the 1970s, the Philippines literally became an open economy—open to foreign capital, foreign loans and foreign economic advisers. Filipino capitalists were relegated to junior partners under the policy of labor-intensive, export-oriented, transnational-dependent industrialization. -- LBG, GMANews.TV