Round Table Discussion on SP/SSM

Original Publication Date: 
1 March, 2007

Last February 28, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), PUMALAG and the IBON Foundation organized a Roundtable Discussion on WTO and the SP/ SSM in the UP Hotel in Quezon City. It was a lively discussion attended by around 100 participants from peasant organizations, fisher folk groups, trade unions, peasant women organizations, religious congregations, anti-imperialist organizations, a representative in Congress and the Cuban Ambassador as well as the Charges de Affaires of Venezuela.

The discussion started with Ka Imelda Lacandazo, KMP national vice-chairperson, sharing the current Philippine peasant situation and the horrendous effects of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in agriculture. After the peasant situationer Sonny Africa, a senior researcher of IBON, updated the body on the current workings and maneuverings in the WTO, especially on the issue of Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanisms (SP/SSM). After Sonny, 30 minutes were allotted for questions, which primarily centered on the tactics of the peasant movement and the anti-imperialist organizations on how to further derail the Doha Development Round. ANAKPAWIS Representative and KMP chairperson Rafael "Ka Paeng" Mariano, was particularly interested on how we can take the fight to the WTO itself, while His Excellency Cuban Ambassador Jorge Rey Jimenez was very engrossed on the update and the Philippine movement's style of campaigning.

Following the discussion the Cuban Ambassador took the floor and shared the Cuban experience in dealing with the WTO and how they were struggling against the US instigated blockade against them. He also said that they fully support our call to defend and assert the SP/SSM. The Venezuelan Charges de Affaires Manuel Iturbe came next and talked about their strong opposition against the Doha Round as well as shared some of their discoveries in agriculture to counter the monopoly of trans-national agricultural corporations like Monsanto, Cargill, Syngenta and Du Pont. Manuel shared the Amaranth or Kolitis, a wheat-like plant that is also common in the Philippines, but is very good substitute for rice or other cereals.

Another open discussion was held after his presentation and the participants primarily asked the two diplomats on how they deal with the continuous comprehensive pressure of the US. They both answered that it is because of the resolute stand of the people for genuine development and the right guidance of their leaders.

The discussion ended with the participants agreeing to coordinate their campaigns and activities against the WTO, as well as reinvigorating the strong opposition of the G33 group of nations against the Doha Round and to push harder for the SP/SSM.