Filipino activists on Thursday staged a demonstration calling for debt relief, climate action, and economic justice in the capital Manila.
The demonstrators marched from the University of Santo Tomas. They called for debt cancellation of illegitimate debts, including the remaining debts of the late Marcos Sr., and the repeal of the Automatic Appropriations Law, also decreed by Marcos Sr.
A three-headed dragon representing the IMF, World Bank, and G7 governments was symbolically struck down by participants with mock weapons bearing the demands for debt cancellation, climate finance, and levying wealth taxes on the super-rich.
A mural depicting how the massive historical social, economic, ecological, and climate debt that rich countries or the Global North has and continues to incur, overshadows the outstanding public debts that Global South countries are being pressured to pay.
The action was organized by the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) together with the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Oriang, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), SANLAKAS, Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA) and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ). Other rallies were held by APMDD members in India, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
APMDD said in a press statement that “the coordinated actions are timed to coincide with the 2023 Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank happening this week in Marrakech, Morocco.”
“We seek accountability from the IMF, the World Bank, and the governments of the G7, which exercise control over these international financial institutions, for their major roles in promoting debt dependence and accumulation of Global South countries, imposing austerity loan conditionalities that hurt the poor and low income, and for continuing to exacerbate the climate crisis by their unabated support for the fossil fuel industry, failing to provide unconditional grants for climate action and peddling more loans as climate finance,” the statement said.