Labor group asks Duterte: Give true report in SONA
A labor group demanded President Rodrigo Duterte to produce a “true” report on the conditions of workers in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
In a statement Sunday, Luke Espiritu, president of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), said Duterte and past presidents only tried to make themselves look better instead of using the event to tackle problems.
“Duterte just like his predecessors have only used to SONA to promote themselves, preserve the status quo and advance the interests of the economic elite with programs that liberalizes the economy, deregulates industries, privatizes social services and cheapens labor, leaving the poor grappling with poverty and social injustice,” he said.
He also said that the past SONAs had done nothing to improve the state of life of Filipino workers.
In May, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 51, Implementing Article 06 of the Labor Code, as amended, to protect the right to security of tenure of all workers based on social justice in the 1987 Constitution.
The Labor Department has also cracked down on illegal contractualization.
On May 11, the government signed a memorandum of agreement with Kuwait to protect overseas Filipino workers in the Gulf state.
READ: Palace releases report on Duterte administration’s achievements for past year
“Year in, year out the toiling masses have yearned for presidents to institute pro-people policies to lift them from dire poverty,” Espiritu said.
“The present abject misery of the poor is enough proof that all past SONAs have failed them and all presidents up to this present regime have neglected them,” he added.
The labor leader also claimed that the report released by Malacañang on the achievements of the administration is just a ploy to cover all the wrongs of the administration against poor families.
“The report is a perfect picture of how policies differ in impacts between the affluent minority and the destitute majority. Both multinational companies and this authoritarian regime feed off the surplus value created by laborers, fattening them with profits and taxes at our expense,” he added.
Espiritu and the group believes that government policies especially the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law has benefitted middle-class workers and oligarchs with the income tax deduction, but not minimum wage earners who were really not charged with income taxes.
“There’s no denying anymore that TRAIN triggered the cost of basic commodities to increase sharply and that it gave rise to the 5.2% inflation rate as the latest survey SWS revealed that 48 percent of the respondents viewed themselves as poor in the second quarter of 2018,” Espiritu explained.
The National Economic Development Authority has maintained that only a small part of the inflation was caused by the TRAIN law, attributing the surging prices of basic goods to the high prices of oil in the world market.
READ: Inflation hits 5.2%, exceeds gov’t target
Espiritu said that if the president is certain that the administration’s achievements is for the poor, this year’s SONA should be held in depressed communities such as the Baseco and Parola Compounds in Tondo, Manila.
“Duterte may receive flying colors and praises from capitalists, bankers and foreign investors in his third SONA, but he will only earn nothing but the collective rage from the workers,” he added. /cbb
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