By Tsai Shu Hui, AFA
PAKISAMA, together with AFA, organized national consultation – dialogue on ASEAN economic and trade issues that will tackle and analyze the rice crisis in the perspective of the ASEAN region. Multi-sectoral representatives were present in the forum. This included people from the NGO community, farmer groups, and so on. The forum was held on April 22-23, 2008 at the College of Social Work and Community Development, UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.
The National Consultation-Diealogue on ASEAN Economic and Trade Issues was a meaty two-day affair, tackling the implications and impacts of the ASEAN Charter, Climate Change, Biofuels, and the current Rice Crisis among the farmers and fisherfolk members of PAKISAMA. With this information, the organization was able to formulate an initial plan of action on how to tackle these issues in the light of everything else that is happening in the country.
This two-day event was very informative for the PAKISAMA members, having been made aware of issues and having the opportunity to be able to respond to them proactively. Inasmuch as this event was a primer for the organization’s National Council Forum, it was, the participants said, frightening that so many things could affect and alter their lives. It was also frightening in that with the information, they are also given the responsibility to act and respond to these issues. It is now their responsibility to be able to disseminate this information to the ground level, to their respective communities. This is crucial, that people actually understand these concepts, that they may feel compelled to act and respond proactively to these issues that undoubtedly affect their lives whether they are aware of it or not.
In this forum there are totally 10 resource persons and 31 participants from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.