Agricultural development is achievable and will lead to modern local industries where capital stays in the country and local inputs and labor are utilized. These development basics were affirmed during the second installment of IBON's nationalist economics lecture series last September 14 at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP).
The second lecture of PAKSA (PUP Aralin sa Kaunlaran ng Sambayanan) was titled "Backward Agriculture and the Imperatives of Genuine Agrarian Reform, Deindustrialization and the Need for Nationalist Industrialization." Around 150 attendees included mostly pre-registered students and PUP faculty members.
The lecture series was organized by IBON together with the PUP Community Relations Office, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)-PUP, the Interdisciplinary Forum, the Institute for Critical Studies and the National Economic Protectionism Association.
IBON Executive Editor Rosario Bella Guzman began the lecture by asking whether it is still possible for the Philippines to develop given the low productivity and backwardness of Philippine agriculture and the export-oriented or privatized nature of the country's key industries including mining, construction, manufacturing and basic utilities.
Humanities professor Dr. Jun Bongato, College of Cooperatives Dean Dr. Herminia Manimtim and agriculturist and peasant leader Axel Pinpin who comprised the panel of reactors agreed with Guzman in attributing these problems to the country's colonial history and decades-old implementation of globalization policies.
Backward agriculture and lack of domestic industry can be reversed in the Philippines, the speakers stressed. First, the urgency of nationalist economics must be recognized: that industrialization should serve not foreign but the people's interests. Second, the country's potential to industrialize given its vast natural resources, labor force and market, rich tradition of nationalism and capacity to integrate in the global market must be acknowledged. Last, the country must be directed towards increasing rural income, expanding the local market and facilitating the development of both agriculture and industry and creating secure jobs, higher productivity and capital accumulation for social services and further development.
The panel stressed that with the perspective of empowering farmers through sufficient government support and swift implementation, land reform can serve as the starting ground of national industrialization, as in the case of Japan.
"Japan and the Philippines were both devastated by World War II. But the now industrialized Japan's first step was to distribute land to tillers, something the Philippines did not do, and has not done," Guzman said.
The concluding installment of the lecture series titled "Globalization and World Economic Order, Which Way to Go: Protectionism or Liberalism?" will be held on September 28. PAKSA pre-registrants will be receiving certificates as graduates of the lecture series. (end)