Statement from Joseph Carabeo to the activity “What would a healthy trade agreement look like?” at the 2016 World Social Forum.
12 August 2016
Montreal, Canada (via Skype)
Joseph Carabeo is Secretary General of the Health Alliance for Democracy and is an active member of PHM in the Philippines. Joseph was not issued a visa to travel to Canada, so he joined the activity via Skype.
Joseph began his statement by referring participants to IBON International’s “People’s Trade Agenda” (starting at page 9). He then added the following comments regarding what he and Filipino people would like to see in “healthy” trade agreements:
The health system is embedded in the larger social system. Inequities in health care closely reflect larger social, economic and political inequalities. This means that lasting reforms in the health sector cannot be accomplished apart from similarly sweeping and thoroughgoing changes in the social and economic situation.
On the macro scale, for the Philippines and other developing countries, neoliberal economic policies need to be replaced by pro-people economics, which asserts national sovereignty and is biased for the people. It should have a long-term view towards the replacement of the private profit-taking of monopoly capitalists with direct social welfare provision by government. Pro-people economics develops domestic production primarily for domestic development and solidarity with other developing countries.
If trade agreements go against this strategic direction, we move to junk them. Junk WTO, junk the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), junk the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), Junk EU-Philippines FTA (free trade agreement). Health and health care, we believe, is not supposed to be under the ambit of trade and commerce eg medicines. It is a service and should be negotiated in solidarity. No to privatization.