Group mocks Neda economic managers, stages ‘tambay boodle’
(Updated 3:45 p.m. to include Neda’s clarification on the budget issue)
Pro-women’s group Gabriela staged a “tambay boodle lunch” in front of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) office in Pasig City on Friday to protest against the economic managers’ alleged efforts to downplay the effects of inflation on poor families.
Members and supporters of the party-list group ate “chichirya” or cheap junk food as viand for rice, depicting the Neda estimate of P25 as an expense for food per person per day.
But Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia had said in a statement that Neda never said anything like that, explaining that an erroneous television report spurred hate against the agency which supposedly claimed that P10,000 is enough to sustain the needs of a family of five for a month.
“I understand and regret that there are those who were dismayed by the budget figures presented in a press conference last June 5. Allow me to point out that there was no mention of a decent budget for a family,” Pernia said.
The protesters also took a swipe at the new anti-crime drive of the Philippine National Police (PNP) against loiterers or “tambays.”
“Yung mga sinasabing mga tambay ng pulis, sila itong walang trabaho o kaya Endo (End of Contract) na pinagkakasya ang barya sa bulsa para maitawid ang gutom,” Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus said in a statement on Friday.
“Samantalang itong mga tambay sa opisina ng Neda, pinapasweldo ng halos P200,000 kada buwan para lang ipagkait ang dagdag sahod na hinihingi ng mga manggagawa,” she added.
(The tambays caught by the police, they are jobless or affected by ‘endo’ who make the most of their little money to avoid hunger. However, these bystanders inside the office of Neda are given P200,000 to prevent the salary increase for the workers.)
The group also reiterated its proposal to the government regarding the establishment of a P750 per day national minimum wage.
“Dapat na atupagin ng rehimeng Duterte ang paglikha ng sapat na trabaho at pagtaas ng sahod ng mga manggagawa, sa halit na pagdadamputin ang mga tambay,” De Jesus said.
(The Duterte regime should work on the creation of sufficient jobs and the increase of salaries of workers, instead of arresting bystanders.)
Call for wage hikes
De Jesus also slammed NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, whom she said earns at least P198,168 per month. She claimed that the two cabinet officials, along with President Rodrigo Duterte himself, received pay hikes by more than 50 percent.
“From 2016 to present, Pernia and Budget Chief Benjamin Diokno’s gross salary increased by 68 percent. President Duterte meanwhile had his salary increased by 80 percent to the current P289,083 under the Salary Standardization Law,” she said.
“Pero ‘yong sahod ng manggagawa sa NCR, tumaas lang ng P21,” she added.
(But the salary of workers in NCR only increased by P21.)
Under the law, salary changes proposed by a president will only take effect once his or her term ends, which means that it was not President Duterte who increased his salary but his predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III.
The lawmaker also noted that minimum wage earners received no incentives from the income tax exemption from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
In contrast, De Jesus said the income tax deductions of Diokno, Pernia, and President Duterte allegedly went down by at least P8,400 after the TRAIN law took effect.
“‘Yung sweldo nina Duterte at Pernia, katumbas na ‘yun ng mahigit isang taong sahod ng isang manggagawa sa NCR. Talagang nakakabulag ang sarap-buhay sa pwesto kaya hindi makita ang paghihikahos ng kababaihan at mamamayan,” she said.
(The salaries of Duterte and Pernia amounts to the more than a year’s worth of pay of a worker from NCR. The comfortable life is really blinding, that’s why they cannot see the hardships of women and the people.) /vvp/ac
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