Women’s groups protest hunger, poverty | Inquirer News

Women’s groups protest hunger, poverty

STOP THE TRAIN Women protesters call for the repeal of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act during a rally in front of the Department of Agriculture office in Quezon City, banging empty pots and pans to dramatize hunger and poverty. —JAM STA. ROSA

About 100 women marched on the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday to protest against what they said was the government’s antipoor policies that have led to high prices now hurting ordinary Filipinos.

Banging empty pots and pans to dramatize the hunger experienced by many poor people, they said it was the wives and mothers who struggled to make ends meet for their families.


They said higher taxes due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act and low wages were worsening hunger and poverty.


“We (the women) are the first to feel the pinch of diminishing family income due to inflation. The excise tax on fuel prices caused by the TRAIN law has hiked the prices of farm products like rice, meat, vegetables and fish,” the women’s group Oriang said in a statement.

‘Comfortable life’

Oriang president Flora Asiddao-Santos reminded government officials that they owed their “comfortable life” to the Filipinos who put them in their positions.

“Ironically, because of this comfort they now have, they no longer know what it’s like to live the kind of life they gave us,” Santos said.

Oriang said the poor were being insulted by the government’s economic managers who claimed that P127 was enough for a Filipino family to buy the food it needed for a day.



Inflation, which hit a five-year high of 4.6 percent in May, was aggravating the burden on low-income families, the group said.

The high inflation rate was driven mainly by increases in the prices of fish and other marine produce, fuel and oils, and bread and cereals, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Silent on wage demand

Filipinos should condemn lawmakers who had swiftly approved the TRAIN Act but now “sleep” on demands for wage increases, said Mila Oga-oga, president of the Metro Manila Vendors’ Alliance.

“These officials should be ashamed of themselves. They are so good at making promises during elections, but totally forget to consider the plight of the poor people after they assume office and start feeling the comforts of life,” Oga-oga said.


But Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said he was not in favor of a nationwide wage hike, saying a raise would be “dangerous” because it would increase production costs and trigger price increases.

“I am not against labor,” Lopez said. He added, however, that the resulting inflation from a wage increase “will strike the whole population, other than the wage earners.”

Grocery prices

He suggested that consumers buy their daily needs from supermarkets or groceries because their prices are generally more stable compared to those in public markets.

He said prices in the Department of Trade and Industry’s “Suking Tindahan,” which it plans to expand in July, were also lower.

 ‘Minimal’ increase

There was only a “minimal” increase in the prices of basic and prime commodities but, as expected, the prices of nonessential goods like tobacco and softdrinks rose, he said.

Comparing prices in May last year to May 25 this year, the basic and prime commodities whose prices went up “minimally” were rice (well-milled rice from P41 to P42, regular-milled from P36 to P40), onion (from P60 to P80), brown sugar (from P40 to P45).

But, a big increase was observed in the price of “galunggong” (round shad)—from P140 to P160—which Lopez attributed to the supply situation of the fish then.

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Lopez said there were agricultural products whose prices went down and these included eggplant (from P50 to P40), garlic (from P200 to P80) and cooking oil (from P35 to P30).

TAGS: Hunger, Poverty, protest

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