1 May 2008


With the approach of World Debt Day on May 18th, Jubilee Australia is again drawing attention to the continued existence of the billions of dollars of unjust debts that is still being repaid today out of the pitiful social service budgets of the world's poorest nations.

Illegitimate debts are obligations claimed by lenders, wealthy institutions and countries, which only financed flawed and anti-people development projects and programs, or which were contracted by illegitimate regimes to further their rule.

In the Philippines, the debt issue and its resolution is a central issue in the political debate. In a country where 44% of the population lives on less than $2 per day, the prioritisation of debt payments over spending on social services and infrastructure means the state is abandoning the disadvantaged, hungry, uneducated, homeless and landless. There is no doubt that the real cost of this trend will be felt by the next generation.

For the Philippines, the staggering debt load (more than USD 80 billion) is largely attributable to economic policy under the corrupt administration of former president Ferdinand Marcos. Foreign loans were a rich source of funds for Marcos and his cronies.

But the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Wealthy creditor countries including Australia are guilty of being party to the accumulation of these illegitimate debts, many of which are still being serviced today.

More information about the issue, some suggestions for taking action and an interactive map summarising the debt situation for countries around the globe can be found at the above website.

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