People's SONA 2009

in General Santos City (GenSan) and Koronadal City


July 27, 2009


GenSan City
Koronadal City GenSan City Koronadal City

Photos courtesy of BAYAN - Socsksargen
GenSan City


‘Cinderella stories’ not reflective of real state of education

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino today reacted to Pres. Gloria Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address, saying that her ‘Cinderella stories’ are not reflective of the real state of the education sector.

“Mrs. Arroyo did not do her homework very well. Who’s pussy-footing now?,” was Palatino’s tongue-in-cheek reaction.

“As with her previous SONAs, Arroyo used the Cinderella tales of youths and individuals who made accomplishments based on their own merit, claiming them as her own. Mylene Amerol-Macumbal and Jennifer Silbor’s stories are only isolated tales of success. Instead, the plights of many Jonathan Montemayors, Julie Albiors and Flores Biwangs represent the real picture of the education sector.,” Palatino said.

Palatino said that Arroyo used only the ‘safe’ numbers that could stupefy the crowd, that she failed to cite damning but accurate and relevant statistics.

The young solon was referring to the disheartening stories of Albior and Biwang, topnotchers in the 2006 National Achievement Test (NAT) who failed to enter college in the University of the Philippines due
to poverty.”

He also cited the story of twenty-year-old nursing student Montemayor who committed suicide last week after he was forced to stop his studies.

Palatino also said Arroyo’s 600,000 scholarships did not make an impact, as they were mere “token subsidies” rather than genuine solutions to education woes.

“The scholarships are actually a manifestation of the increasing cost of education. The government is dishing out scholarships because it cannot control fee hikes in schools. Instead, the government should regulate tuition and other fee increases of both private and public learning institutions. Bakit kailangan ding i-privatize ang state universities and colleges na sana’y nagbibigay ng mura o libreng edukasyon? Iilan lang naman ang makikinabang sa mga scholarship na ito,” he said.

Palatino also said that Arroyo should not be too proud of her ‘higher investment in technical education and skills training’ because ‘the orientation of tech-voc education in the country is export-oriented’.

“Para saan pa ang ipinagmamalaking investment ni Arroyo sa tech-voc kung inilalako rin lamang sila sa ibang bansa?” Palatino said.

Additional years of schooling slammed
Palatino also slammed the Presidential Task Force on Education’s proposal to reform the curriculum of professions seeking international recognition. The task force recommended that students who want to take engineering, architecture, accountancy, pharmacy and physical therapy should undergo 10 years of basic education, two years of pre-university, before three years of university.

“While adding another year will improve the quality of these courses as it is now a global trend, this does not necessarily mean an improvement on our part. Countries with more years of schooling have higher allocation and spending for education. Our budget for education, on the other hand, has been dwindling since 2001., Palatino said.

The Philippine government spent a measly 2.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product on public educational institutions in 2007. This pales in comparison to its neighboring countries Malaysia with 6.2 percent and Thailand with 4.2 percent. Laos even spent more at 3.0 percent. The minimum prescribed standard for education spending set by UNESCO is 6 percent of a country’s GDP. ##



Date: 27 July 2009
Campaign: Pambansang Bigwas Laban sa Con-Ass
Reference Person:
: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson
Contact information: 0929-629-3234

Workers sick of Arroyo’s economic myths
‘Enough of lies, just say goodbye’

Pambansang Bigwas

Thousands of workers led by Kilusang Mayo Uno poured on the streets to dispel Gloria Arroyo’s myth on the state of the nation, and to insist on a categorical farewell from Arroyo amid attempts to convene a Constituent Assembly.

“Arroyo’s long-overdue farewell, which is wished for by both her allies and critics, would be the best soundbyte ever in her nine State of the Nation Addresses. All we want from her is to assure the millions of Filipinos who have suffered from her nine years of greed, cheating and tyranny that she will step down in 2010,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

Labog said Arroyo’s claim that there will be elections in 2010 is not enough. “How could that statement be credible if she’s keeping her Charter change bid alive?”

Grand myth on job creation
KMU also slammed Arroyo’s rosy report on the state of the economy and of the Filipino working class, saying “such spiels of job generation runs counter to the objective reality of joblessness, unabated retrenchments and narrow job opportunities.”

“She is just adding insult to injury by reporting a healthy economy despite clear indications of a continuing downturn,”

“That there is no real development under Arroyo’s watch is an opinion shared by the majority, of our people. Even a well-known economist who is supportive of Mrs. Arroyo says that the economy is growing but its fruits are not equitably shared,” said Labog.

History will judge her harshly
Contrary to what Palace officials claimed that ‘history will be kinder,’ KMU said it will never happen, since “she has always been on the wrong side of history.”

“History will be a ruthless judge on Mrs. Arroyo: a rabidly pro-US, pro-elite president who plunged the workers and people deeper into poverty. History will judge her harshly, the way it judges Ferdinand Marcos now,” Labog said.

“Mrs. Arroyo tries to look good through her meeting with US President Obama. It seems, however, that even US publications like the Washington Times can read through Mrs. Arroyo’s motives. The Globama meeting will not deodorize her image, neither will her delusional economic reports,” added Labog. ###


Koronadal City


Arroyo is biggest job annihilator - KMU

Date: 26 July 2009
Campaign: Pambansang Bigwas Laban sa Con-Ass
Reference Person:
Elmer "Bong" Labog
Contact information: 0929-629-3234

Contrary to what Gloria Arroyo promised in her ten-point legacy which includes ten million jobs, vast scarcity of employment opportunities and job closures stand as the striking truth about her bad employment record, according to labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Apart from falling short of her target, Arroyo has made livelihood of Filipino families more unstable by dangling low-quality and temporary jobs, including her “Pulis Oyster” employment scheme for out-of-school youth.

"Gloria Arroyo promised to generate 1 million jobs yearly when she assumed presidency. After nine years, what swept us was a vast scarcity of employment opportunities and the annihilation of countless jobs and livelihood," KMU said.

No jobs
Currently, 4.2 million in our labor force do not have any job at all, and more than 4 million Filipinos are always unemployed yearly. Worse, the US-Arroyo regime redefined unemployment figures in April 2005 in a desperate attempt to cover up the massive loss of jobs.

At that time, it slashed 1.9 million from the actual 4.8 million unemployed Filipinos. Furthermore, those who do not have work and not looking for work anymore were slashed from the labor force, hence from employment figures.

As part of her so-called vision to promote the Philippines into a globally competitive country, Arroyo has always protected the profits of big business, not the security of the workers’ livelihood.

Displaced from jobs
With the onslaught of the global financial crisis, the regime was even more protective of the interests of the capitalists as it allowed the massive retrenchment of workers.

DOLE itself estimated at the start of the year that 200,000 could lose their jobs for the first half of 2009. Going into the second half of the year, more cases of retrenchment are reported, including the closure of Triumph International and Goodyear.

The validity of such retrenchments were not ever been subjected to scrutiny, as actually, big companies continue to rake in more profit amid the crisis.

Is this what you call job?

The regime even pushed companies to implement flexible labor measures to supposedly “cope” with the crisis and “avoid” lay offs. DOLE Advisory No. 2 was issued last Jan.30 after a “tri-partite” conference where KMU was never. It legitimized the reduction of work hours, forced leaves, overtime work without pay, voluntary retirement, and other schemes that entirely destroys the right to job security.

The regime also always boasted its job fairs that have been flocked by an increasing number of unemployed Filipinos, already a stark contradiction in itself as the queue of jobless grows longer instead of otherwise.

Meanwhile, the independent think-tank IBON foundation revealed that 1.3 million out of the 1.5 million jobs created last year are non-earning, poorly earning or otherwise insecure jobs. Currently, 14.3 million or almost half of those employed are working part-time only. ###