People's SONA 2009 in Davao City

 

July 27, 2009

 

Photos courtesy of Other Matters
   
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Photos courtesy of BAYAN - Southern Mindanao
           

 

People’s SONA staged successfully
MEDIA RELEASE
July 28, 2009

Davao City – With around 30,000 people coming from various parts of Southern Mindanao, the nationwide protest against Gloria Arroyo’s SONA yesterday (July 27) headed by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and People’s March was indeed historic and a first in Davao City.

“There is more that could be learned and realized with the people’s overwhelming response to our call for a unity against Gloria Arroyo and her morally bankrupt regime. What was significant and undeniable with the turnout of the mobilization yesterday is the fact that the people are now conscious of their situation and are ready to oppose the exploitations inflicted against them by the Arroyo administration,” Bayan-SMR spokesperson John Birondo said.

“What could have been a missed opportunity for those who failed to experience a truthful event yesterday will surely make them want to know more of the people’s genuine and most popular opinion than the bragging and self-defense mechanisms of Gloria Arroyo against her critics during her SONA,” Birondo added.

“There is nothing more realistic than what the people think about Gloria Arroyo’s performance in her nine years of sham, corrupt, and fascist presidency. Economic and social injustices are evident with majority of the Filipino people living below poverty line and with very little opportunities to earn for a living,” Birondo lamented.

“What were bragged mostly by Gloria Arroyo in her SONA were temporary and very insignificant resolutions she has done like the P500 economic subsidy for every poor Filipino family. An amount that is way insufficient for a day’s need of a family with a minimum of four members,” Birondo stressed.

“Infrastructure is not a gauge of genuine development. A simple, non-complicated, and very layman manifestation of poverty are the families living in urban communities whom the Arroyo government labels and treats as squatters,” Birondo said.

“It is neither difficult to understand the kind of jobs being provided by the Arroyo administration. Mostly on contractual basis, nothing is stable and sustaining. Jobs created through Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) like call centers are also vulnerable to retrenchments with the global financial crisis still looming and is expected to worsen in the coming months,” Birondo added.

“If we only try to analyze deeply our country’s situation, and with bias to what is only true, our everyday struggles and encounters with other people will make us more critical, honest, and factual,” Birondo said.

“It is a challenge for all of us to be sincere in our efforts to know the truths and make use of these truths to influence genuine societal changes. The people are just there, waiting for us to ask them about their real opinions and aspirations,” Birondo added.

 

     
     
           
           

 

The People’s State of the Nation Address
 

UNITY STATEMENT

July 27, 2009

Gloria Arroyo’s nine years in Malacañang gave the worse in every aspect of the Filipino people’s existence. With a sham, fascist, and corrupt president in control of the country’s economic and political affairs, the worse has nailed every Filipino family to extreme sufferings. Gloria Arroyo’s mantra “BEAT THE ODD” literally speaks for how she should be treated. She is the ODDEST that ever happened to our country and she must be BEATEN at all cost… Now or Never!

Gloria Arroyo’s 9th SONA is expected to pronounce the accomplishments of her “BEAT THE ODD” program which she said has focused on fighting poverty through: Balanced Budget, Education for All, Automated Elections, Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Terminate Hostilities, Healing the Wounds of EDSA 1, 2, and 3, Electricity and Water for All Barangays, Opportunities to Create 6 to 10 Million Jobs, Decongesting Metro Manila, and Develop Subic and Clark.

A well-formulated acronym indeed, Gloria Arroyo’s “BEAT THE ODD” program was a perfect gimmickry – a skill she has harnessed over the years. However, reality will speak for what is obvious. Gloria Arroyo’s nine years of sham presidency can be summed-up to one hard truth, a Filipino nation reeling in deep and permanent CRISIS.

How possible was it for Gloria Arroyo and her morally bankrupt administration to claim any accomplishment amid facts of massive corruption, apparent deceits, gross human rights violations, dereliction of the people’s right to decent and stable jobs, and rejection of the people’s access to basic social services?

Gloria Arroyo’s record-breaking performance reveals today’s 27.6 million number of Filipinos that are officially considered poor from 23.8 million in 2003. There are 15.6 million of Filipino workers officially considered as jobless & underemployed as of the latest count, while those that are employed are receiving a meager minimum wage of P265 in Mindanao alone.

Effective rate of Meralco per kilowatt-hour is now P8..81 from P5.13 in 2001. Retail price of LPG per 11-kg tank which was P192 in 2001 is now P605. Pump price of diesel is currently at P33.29 per liter from as low as P12.62 per liter in 2001. Retail price of regular-milled rice which was P17.51 per kilo in 2001 is now P30 per kilo. Water in Manila as a basis is now P23.05 per cubic meter from P17.51 in 2001. Tuition fee in Davao City alone is now P302.50 per unit at the minimum from P170 per unit in 2001.

To top it all, Gloria Arroyo’s declared net worth of P66.75 million in 2001 has soared to P144.54 million as of 2008. This is to exclude the money and properties she has amassed out of corruption. To note, an estimated P17 billion was corrupted by Gloria Arroyo and her family from the ZTE-NBN project, fertilizer funds, and others more.

The infrastructure projects which Gloria Arroyo claims to have been completed under her term were either tainted with anomalous transactions or have actually been the number one source corruption. More so that the construction of farm to market roads are irrelevant for majority of the Filipino farmers who, to begin with, are incapable of sustaining their productions due to the high cost of farm inputs and stiff competition in the market brought by the influx of imported agricultural goods. Realistically, these infrastructure projects are meant to back multinational and transnational investments in the country.

Urban communities have become more congested over the years due to lack of livelihood opportunities in the countryside. Majority of the people are forced to seek for greener pasture in the cities making life more difficult for each to survive. While this problem exists, the Arroyo administration has instead intensified the demolitions of urban communities and continues to ignore the people’s need for employment and affordable housing services.

Hostilities remain uncontained and are intensifying with the rebellion waged by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Communist Party of the Philippines. Not even Gloria Arroyo’s pronouncement of beating rebellion by 2010 has resulted to anything realistic. Worst, incidents of political killings and other human rights violations have intensified, victimizing thousands of innocent civilians as results of the Arroyo regimes implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya. To date, there are 1,015 victims of political killings nationwide since 2001 where 105 are from the Southern Mindanao Region. Moreover, militarization in the countryside continues to sow terror and displace the farmers and Indigenous Peoples.

Gloria Arroyo was never sincere in mending the wounds that continue to divide the Filipino people. HHHer latest manipulation of charter change is pushing more oppositions and divisions. Unity is impossible with Gloria Arroyo becoming more persistent to perpetuate herself in power at the expense of the nation’s sovereignty and genuine democracy.

Thus, we say:
ENOUGH OF GLORIA ARROYO!
NO TO CHARTER CHANGE!
NO TO NOGRALES’ HR 737!
NO TO US PLUNDER OF OUR NATIONAL PATRIMONY AND SOVEREIGNTY!
OUST GLORIA!
 

JOHN BIRONDO
Spokesperson- Bayan-SMR
BP. CONSTANTE CLARO
ConvenorPEOPLE’S MARCH
Davao City

     
     
     
           
Photos courtesy of Other Matters
           

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Assessment of Arroyo Administration’s Economic Performance vs. SONA 2001 Targets

 

Written by IBON Info   

 

The last eight years of the Arroyo administration have resulted in record joblessness, deteriorating quality of jobs, falling household incomes, increasing poverty, fiscal crisis, unprecedented debt and debt service, social service cutbacks, and deeper Philippine underdevelopment.

 

Economic growth has been relatively higher compared to previous administrations. Growth in gross domestic product (GDP) during the Arroyo administration (2001-08) averaged 4.9% annually compared to 4.6% under Aquino (1986-91), 3.1% under Ramos 3.1% (1992-98) and 3.9% under Estrada (1999-2000). Yet the economy has become even more distorted under the Arroyo administration and the gains from this growth and economic policy in general have gone to a few and not been felt by the largest number of the Filipino people.

 

Targets from Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address, July 23, 2001

Actual performance

 

“Our challenge is clear: sugpuin ang kahirapan.”

 

o        530,642 increase in the number of poor families between 2000 and 2006 – to 4.7 million poor families in 2006. (NSCB, using low official poverty lines)

o        2.1 million increase in the number of poor Filipinos between 2000 and 2006 – to 27.6 million in 2006. (NSCB, using low official poverty lines)

o        Meanwhile the net income of the Top 1000 corporations in the Philippines increased 490% between 2001 and 2007, from P116 billion to P686 billion. (BW)

o        In 2006, the net worth of just the 20 richest Filipinos – including close Arroyo allies Lucio Tan, Enrique Razon, Jr., Eduardo Cojuangco, Enrique Aboitiz and others – was P801 billion (US$15.6 billion), which was equivalent to the combined income for the year of the poorest 10.4 million Filipino families. (Forbes Asia, NSCB)

 

“The way to fight poverty is to create jobs, not destroy them.”

o        The period 2001-2008 is the longest period of sustained high unemployment in the country’s history – the true unemployment rate averaged some 11.2 percent. (NSO, IBON estimates)

o        621,000 increase in unemployment between Jan-01 and Apr-09 – to 4.2 million. (NSO, IBON estimates)

o        1.9 million increase in underemployment between Jan-01 and Apr-09 – to 6.6 million. (NSO)

o        Combined unemployment and underemployment increased 2.5 million between Jan-01 and Apr-09 – to 10.8 million. (NSO, IBON estimates)

o        The quality of jobs has worsened: merely part-time work increased by 5.9 million and now accounts for 14.3 million or two out of five of all jobs. Moreover, those “with jobs but not working” more than doubled and increased by 489,000 to reach 839,000. (NSO)

o        The period 2001-2008 has seen the most Filipinos forced abroad to find jobs in the country’s history – deployments averaged 990,000 annually compared to 469,709 (Aquino), 713,505 (Ramos) and 839,324 (Estrada); some 1.24 million were deployed last year or 3,400 Filipinos leaving every day. (POEA) There are over 9 million Filipinos forced to find work abroad. (DFA-CFO)

 

"Dapat din tugunan ang karaingan ng madla sa mahal na bilihin at kulang na sahod.”

o        The gap between the NCR minimum wage and the family living wage more than doubled to P535 in 2008 (NCR minimum wage P382, family living wage P917) from just P257 in 2001 (NCR minimum wage P252, family living wage P509). (DOLE, NWPC)

o        Nominal minimum wages are stagnant and barely able to even just keep up with inflation. While nominal wages in NCR seem to have increased from P252 in 2001 to P382 in 2008 – or a P130 increase – the true increase is worth just P12 because of inflation. (DOLE, IBON estimates)

 

“To reduce excessive friction in labor and management relations, we will go the extra mile to work for industrial peace.”

o        Since 2001, 62 workers have been extra-judicially killed and 15 others forcibly disappeared. (Karapatan). There have also been 1,478 cases of trade union human rights violations with 116,356 victims. (CTUHR).

“With regard to the fiscal sector, we will control the budget deficit by collecting taxes vigorously and spending money prudently.”

o        The cumulative national government deficit from 2001 to May 2009 is P1.29 trillion – triple the deficits of the Aquino, Ramos and Estrada administrations combined. (BTr)

o        The Arroyo administration has paid P4.8 trillion in debt service since 2001 – this is two-and-a-half times the P1.8 billion in debt payments made over 15 years by the Aquino, Ramos and Estrada administrations combined. (BTr)

o        Yet government debt has continued to rise to P4.23 trillion in March 2009 which is almost double the P2.17 trillion debt inherited from the Estrada government. The administration has effectively been borrowing an additional P256.8 million annually since coming to power. (BTr)

 

“A social bias toward the disadvantaged to balance our economic development plan. Pagkalinga sa mga bahagi ng lipunan na naiwanan ng kaunlaran.”

o        The Arroyo administration (2001-09) allotted only 15.1% of the national budget to education which is lower than under Estrada (18%, 1999-2000) and Ramos (16.6%, 1992-98). (DBM)

o        To health, it allotted only 1.8% of the national budget which is lower than under Estrada (2.4%), Ramos (2.5%) and Aquino (3.1%, 1986-1991). (DBM)

o        To housing, it allotted only 0.4% of the national budget which is lower than under Estrada (1.0%), Ramos (0.7%) and Aquino (0.5%). (DBM)

o        In 2009, the Arroyo administration is only spending P6 per Filipino per day on education, P1 on health and 12 centavos – while paying the equivalent of P21 on debt service. (IBON computations on DBM data)

 

“Increase the chances of Filipino children finishing school… [karunungan] para sa masa”

o        The number of out-of-school children and youth increased by 2.45 million between school year 2000-01 and 2008-09 – consisting of an additional 1.62 million children aged 7-12 years old and an additional 822,097 children aged 13-16 years old – to reach a total of 4.69 million. (DepED)

o     The number of elementary-age out-of-school children increased by 1.62 million between school year 2000-01 and 2008-09 to a total of 2.04 million.

o     The number of high school-age out-of-school youth increased by 822,097 between school year 2000-01 and 2008-09 to a total of 2.66 million.

o        1.95 million of these children and youth – consisting of 1.59 million of the elementary-age children and 360,000 of the high-school age children – are directly due to the deterioration of participation rates during the Arroyo administration. (IBON computations on DepED data) Elementary school participation rate dropped from 96.8% in school year 2000-01 to 85.1% in 2008-08; the high school participation rate dropped from 66.1% to 60.7% over the same period. (DepED)

 

“There can be a million new jobs in agriculture and fisheries [within the year]… I don’t want the one million new jobs to come in the long term.”

o        Only an average of 258,200 agricultural jobs have been created annually in the last eight years – from 10.25 million agricultural sector jobs in 2000, the year before Arroyo came to power, to 12.32 million in 2008. (NSO)

o        The agriculture sector has fallen to its smallest share in gross domestic product (GDP) in the country’s history – 18.1% (2008). (NSCB)

 

“Sisikapin nating magkaroon ng rice self-sufficiency.”

o        Rice imports increased 280% from 639,000 tons in 2001 to a record 2.4 million tons in 2008. (DA)

"Murang bigas at masaganang magsasaka.”

o        The price of rice increased 68% between 2000, the year before Arroyo came to power, and 2008: of regular milled rice to P29.38 per kilo (from P17.59) and of well milled rice to P32.71 per kilo (from P19.45 in 2000). (DA)

 

“Bawat taon, mamahagi ang gobyerno ng dalawandaang libong ektarya para sa reporma sa lupa: 100,000 of private land and 100,000 hectares of public land, including 100 ancestral domain titles for indigenous peoples.”

o        The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of the Arroyo administration distributed an average of 119,301 hectares annually (2001-2008) which is smaller than under Estrada (121,274 ha., 1999-2000), Ramos (296,395 ha., 1993-1998) and Aquino (169,063 ha., 1987-1992). (No equivalent data available for land distributed by the DENR)

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Information and communications technology (ICT) will jumpstart our old stalling economy and make it leapfrog into the new economy.”

o        The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry rapidly grew from 5,600 employees and US$56 million in revenues in 2001 to 372,000 employees and US$6.1 billion in revenues in 2008. (NEDA) But in 2008 the sector still accounted for just 1.1% of total employment and only some 2% of gross domestic product (GDP). (IBON computations on NSCB data)

o        The manufacturing sector has meanwhile shrunk to as small as in the 1950s – 23.1% of GDP (2008). (NSCB) The sector lost 51,000 jobs between Jan-01 (2,885,000 jobs) and Apr-09 (2,834,000). (NSO)

 

“Kumikilos ang gobyerno upang mapigilan ang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing pangangailangan ng manggagawa. Binabantayan ang presyo ng langis,”

o        The price of diesel rose 220% between 2001 (average P13.96 per liter) and 2008 (P44.31) and of gasoline by 180% (from P16.58 to P45.92). (IBON monitoring)

o        The peso price per liter of Dubai crude has increased by an average of P0.16 per month since January 2001 – yet the pump price of diesel has increased by an average of P0.26 per month, which is excessive even if the effect of the RVAT law since November 2005 is factored in. (IBON)

 

 

”Damihan ang kategoriya ng manggagawang hindi na kailangang magbayad ng buwis.”

o        On average, every Filipino 15 years old and over paid the government an extra P5,059 in taxes over the last three years (2006-2008). This is equivalent to the additional P287.0 billion in taxes paid by Filipinos due to the imposition of RVAT in Nov 2005. (DOF) (IBON computations)

 

“Reduce corruption in the executive branch… investigate and prosecute corruption in high places… reduce corruption among elective officials… no one is above the law.”

o        The total amount of kickbacks, ill-gotten wealth and payoffs involved in just 16 major corruption cases reaches as much as P20.9 billion (US$430 million). The amount remains substantial even if the interrupted NBN-ZTE and Cyber-Education deals are excluded. (Pagbabago! Research Working Group)

 

 

 

“We will enhance our relations with the United States, whose economic and military power continues to make it important as a factor in the affairs of the region and the nation.”

o        Since 2002 up to 500 US Special Forces personnel have been permanently deployed in Mindanao in a “forward operating base”, supported and participated in combat operations, as well as built fixed facilities. In addition over 40,000 US soldiers have come into the country to Albay, Basilan, Batanes, Capiz, Cavite, Cebu, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Leyte, Masbate, Palawan, Pampanga, Bataan, Sorsogon, Sulu, Tarlac, Quezon and Zamboanga for just the largest “exercises” such as the annual Balikatan. This does not yet include scores of other smaller exercises – there were for instance 163 exercises just in 2008 – nor concealed operations. (IBON monitoring)

 

 

Sources: Bureau of Treasury (BTr), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Education (DepED), Department of Foreign Affairs-Commission on Filipinos Overseas (DFA-CFO), National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), National Statistics Office (NSO), National Wages and productivity Council (NWPC), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), BusinessWorld Top 100 Corporations, Forbes Asia, Center for Trade Union Human Rights (CTUHR), Karapatan and Pagbabago! Research Working Group.

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
 
           
           

 

Majority Of New Jobs Created Non-Earning, Low Paying, Part-Time Work
Written by IBON Info
 

Some 1.3 million or the overwhelming majority of the supposedly 1.5-million new jobs created since last year are actually non-earning, poorly earning or otherwise insecure jobs including part-time work, according to research group IBON.
 

In April 2009, 540,000 of the jobs created were either unpaid family work (394,000) or domestic household help (146,000). IBON notes that these are jobs that notoriously earn far below minimum wage, if at all.

Another 803,000 jobs were created in the own-account category “self-employed”. This is an extraordinary increase in an employment category that has only seen increases of 45,000 (2007), 74,000 (2008) and 87,000 (2006) in the last three years. This may be taken as a kind of disguised unemployment and could indicate that many Filipinos are being driven into the informal sector or, for some, buying into the entrepreneurship hype. But while government has been aggressive in promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses many of these informal sector workers and budding entrepreneurs will be faced with disappointment. Domestic consumption is weakening further, and demand for common entrepreneurial goods will likely be low.

There has also been a drastic 2.4 million-increase in part-time work which, at 14.3 million out of total employed of 35 million, now accounts for a massive 41% of jobs. The number of those in full-time work in turn fell by 925,000. This reflects how workers are facing greater work flexibilization arrangements alongside lower wages, salaries and benefits.

Job creation figures actually show that 1.3 million Filipinos are crowding into sectors that are stagnating or even shrinking according to first quarter economic growth figures, which implies that average incomes in these sectors are falling if not already low. The largest number of jobs created was in the agriculture sector which registered a 408,000-increase in jobs but saw year-on-year growth in production falling 0.7 percentage points in the first quarter of 2009 from the same period last year.

According to IBON, the seeming improvement in the labor market situation is illusory: there were still at least 4.2 million unemployed in April 2009 (correcting for the misleading change in the NSO definition of unemployment in 2005), and 6.6 million underemployed– or at least 10.8 million Filipinos looking for work or additional work.

Poor job creation and deteriorating quality of jobs are a significant factor in explaining why household incomes and consumption are starting to fall. Seasonally-adjusted personal consumption expenditure actually fell 3.1% in the first quarter of 2009, turning negative for the first time after about a decade-and-a-half of positive growth.

Clearly, even the surprisingly large job creation in April 2009 from the year before was not enough to increase household incomes and corresponding consumption-- highlighting the need for genuine policies that will create sufficient and quality jobs, beyond government’s token measures like supposed emergency programs and job fairs. (end

 

     
     
     
     
     
           
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The Cross that Families Carry
Jun 09, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Surviving from the Impact of the global financial crisis


Filipinos are known for their strong family ties. A Filipino household is usually composed of an extended family; this may include not only the grandparents but also other relatives. Economic and social responsibilities are shared by each family member (depending on the age and capacity). That is why in this time of crisis the workers are not only the ones who suffer, their family shares the same misery too.

The Philippines is not unaffected in the current world economic crisis. But capitalists survive and profit because they pass the burden onto their workers. They found an opportunity to spend less but gain more under the pretext of business survival and keeping by jobs. Logically, workers become more vulnerable and miserable.

Misery no end

The Filipino workers with a family of six have been bleeding from the minimum wage of P382 (US $ 8.12) per day while prices of basic commodities soars. As early as August 2008, inflation rate reached an all-time high of 12.4 percent, the country’s highest in 17years. Food prices hiked by 13.6 percent, prices of staples alone like rice rose to 29.2 percent. Even the P25 per kilo rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) is still expensive for the workers whose income had shrink dramatically. That is why workers and their families who had been living in austerity for the past years had further tighten their belts.

Consequently, poverty in the country worsened this 2009. “Compared to last year, Filipinos who consider their lives had worsened increased by four points to 47 percent, new survey results showed.” There are some workers’ families who had only one meal per day. Aling Nisa, a seamstress in Grever Apparel Phils. Inc. in Cavite for example, only eat lunch on workdays. Since, the crisis compressed working days have been frequent in many factories and I was in a “forced vacation”, laments Aling Nisa. “Usually we just went to sleep to forget our hunger,” Aling Nisa said. Her son is now also part of the 64.52 percent youth who are incapable of paying their tuition and other school fees. Her son did not finish high school because they were unable to pay the P 3,000 graduation fee and now having a hard time to find jobs.

Workers like Aling Nisa live in a cycle of poverty. They can’t send their children to school and get good education or often drop-out when hardships become too tough. They are the young adult who have more difficulties finding employment and doomed to life of misery.

Families in need seem to find ways to survive. Some families devise a “budget adjustment” and focused on their barest necessity. They avoid “luxuries” like buying sodas and eating on restaurants or fast food chains. Ging, a retrenched worker since 2001, is again dependent to her parents to support her basic needs. “I even adjusted my food allowance to get by” Ging said.

Jen, a seamstress in Mactan Apparel Inc. in Cebu City has more worries. Her whole family is financially dependent on her. “My husband is a fisherman and he has no stable income that is why we always prioritize our basic needs like food, rice and body soap. Also, we don’t have the luxury of going out” Jen said.

Buried to Debt

Most of the workers kept afloat by a sea of debt. Borrowing money or goods help them survive daily. They ask their relatives, borrow money or ask for some food for the family. There are times when responsibility of parents to send their children to school is passed onto the relatives albeit temporarily, due to lack of finances. Workers can not always rely on their relatives’ finances because the latter are also cringing from budgetary constraints.

Even singles feel the pinch. Kokoy and Mark, both workers in MEC Electronics Phils. Corporation in Cavite and single complain that their salary is not enough. “We use our ATM card as collateral to money lenders,” Kokoy and Mark shared. ‘The interest rate is as much as 10 percent. Usually the money lender keeps the ATM of the worker-borrower and withdraws the salary for them to ensure that loans are paid before they return the card to its owners’, added Mark and Kokoy. When pay day comes nothing is left from the worker’s salary as loans have to be paid, so they have to borrow money again.

Ingenuity

Some workers are more ingenuous. Aling Suzzy, was laid-off last December 2008 from Maithland-Smith in Cebu City – maker of high-end furniture for export. From the small money she got, she a started small business (retail store). To earn extra income and to finance her child’s education she told CTUHR, “I sell bread every morning… we also put some parts of our house for rent.” Some of my co-workers who returned to the province, put their own small vegetable garden to save money. But those who have nothing to turn to, live in so much suffering, she mused.

Dealing with the Crisis in Organized way

Ludy and Fred, couple who were illegally retrenched in DAIHO (Phils.) Inc. in Laguna said that that joining workers’ union is particularly important to cope with the crisis. “We are both union members and because of that membership we learned not only the workers’ rights that we should enjoy but the real situation of our country”, the unionist couple said.

To Jay and Eddie, both illegally retrenched workers from Golden Will Fashion Phils. in Cavite, from DAIHO (Phils) Inc respectively, unions do more than just helping understand the situation. Their unions give them temporary shelter and feed them even before the crisis hits. Jay faces a fabricated case that the company used as justification to fire him. Eddie together with his other colleagues, on the other hand, is pushing the fight against illegal dismissal, a fight that they have been waging for few months now.

Urgent economic relief

The Filipino workers have been surviving with noodles and dried fish, there’s nothing left of them except their families that the crisis could squeeze further. Aggravating their situation is the capitalist’s move to using the crisis to fire their workers without much obligation. Thus, it makes more imperative for the government to intervene in favour of its workers and peoples, and not in bailing out ailing capitalists.

The government should step in to help the laid-off workers. Support must be provided to at least cover for workers’ basic needs like food, medicine, and decent housing for their family which they could no longer provide due to joblessness. But most of all, beyond family needs, every person needs a decent job not only to earn, to use or hone their skills but to create things necessary for his / her and society’s growth.

Today, more than before, the workers’ demand for a P125 national legislated wage increase must be heeded. Emergency allowances that the government announced must be implemented without delay and subsidies for basic goods be provided so that the poor can somehow cope#.

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
           
           

 

Arroyo's SONA perspective delusional - KMU; Only GMA believes her lies
Date: 28 July 2009
Campaign: Pambansang Bigwas Laban sa Con-Ass
Reference Person: Elmer "Bong" Labog
Contact information: 0929-629-3234

After coming up with a delusional report on the country’s situation for the ninth straight year, Gloria Arroyo has nailed down the obvious: she is talking only to herself.

This was the critique made by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno on Arroyo’s ninth SONA, which contained the usual bluff of Arroyo on the economy and her empty promises, saying that her own perspective on the state of the nation proves her isolation from the people.

“She makes it appear that her critics are saying that the glass is half-empty and that she is saying that it is half-full. We disagree. The glass is empty, Mrs. Arroyo. And no amount of lies, however magically weaved, will make the people think otherwise. We are worse off now than we were in 2001,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

“That it is only Mrs. Arroyo and her paid allies who believe her reading of the state of the nation shows just how isolated her regime is from the people,” added Labog.

Labog said the people would definitely not want Arroyo out if the state of the nation is improving. “Not because Mrs. Arroyo’s critics are vicious, but because the people feel the real state of the nation in their stomachs, in their bodies, and in their minds.”

Labog said there is really no good news about the state of the nation, since what Arroyo boasted yesterday are mere stop-gap measures, short-term remedies to the chronic crisis of the country’s economy.

No goobye
Labog also hit Arroyo for refusing to clarify her political plans in 2010, tucking her real agenda under the litany of sevice and goodwill.

“The whole country wants her to say goodbye, but she is saying by and by,” said Labog.

“She had actually the chance to somehow redeem herself yesterday by vowing to stop Cha-Cha and to step down in 2010. Instead, she did not address the issue of Cha-Cha and remained vague on her plans, which stands as a warning to the people,” he added.

Labog said the people will remain vigilant and will keep on fighting unless the Cha-Cha plan is abandoned by the US-Arroyo regime.#

Disproving Arroyo’s five SONA summary points:

1.We have a strong economy and a strong fiscal position to withstand global shocks.

We do not have a strong economy because nationalist industrialization and genuine land reform have not been undertaken by the government and the people. If we did not fall as flat as other countries, it is not because we are not in a strong fiscal position. It’s because we have not taken off yet.

2. We built new modern infrastructure and completed unfinished ones.

The people know that infrastructure projects are great sources of corruption. The fact that infrastructure projects are being undertaken throughout the country is proof that Mrs. Arroyo is dispensing patronage to her allies at the local level.

3. The economy is more fair to the poor than ever before.

The economy is most unfair to the poor than ever before. Majority of VAT collections are shouldered by poor and low-earning families, while big businesses evade scrutiny of their earnings.

4. We are building a sound base for the next generation.

Because Mrs. Arroyo is being judged harshly for her policies at present, she is appealing to the future generations. Her legacy for the next generation is low-paying and part-time jobs, huge-scale hunger and corruption.

5. International authorities have taken notice that we are safer from environmental degradation and man-made disasters.

What is in fact significant during her term is that international authorities have taken notice that the Philippines is being ravaged by man-made disasters wrought by the Arroyo regime: corruption, violation of human rights, and killings of workers, journalists and ordinary citizens.#

 

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     
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