It was interesting- hearing that we’d all be assigned to serve in different civil service organizations for this semester’s NSTP meetings. Among the “four corners” we had to choose from in the SE Auditorium, I decided to go with Economic Nationalism, and chose to intern in the institution that our group thought sounded the most familiar, the Freedom from Debt Coalition. A few weeks into the program, we were tasked to attend a “creative movement” outside the Asian Development Bank, where FDC stood its stand, urging ADB to aid Yolanda relief efforts, instead of giving out additional loans to the government. Analyzing the situation and arguments of both sides, I did see why FDC would have such a stand on an issue such as this. From what I understood, they are concerned because of the government acquiring loans they (and the Filipinos) would have a hard time paying for in the future because of the ‘high’ cost of borrowing. The first thing I asked myself was, did ADB ever give the Philippines help in form of an aid, then? Interviewing one of ADB’s representatives present at the demonstration, our group learned that the institution has given the Philippines nearly $20 million for rehabilitation of the damages caused by typhoon Yolanda. Personally, what went through my mind then was, ADB, or any institution of similar purpose could only do so much ($20 million does go a long way, when used properly, which is another issue in itself). Until where do they want ADB to give out aids, $100 million, $300 million, or even $500 million? One of the things I’ve learned through that experience was that perhaps we must look at their (ADB and other similar institutions) help in a positive light, because if we really did want to help, we can always start with our OWN efforts and what we have to give, and not refuse to see the good that others have done.
-Dy, Lauren D. L.