Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Labor group demand accounting of "war on hunger" funds

In the face of a new SWS survey that revealed a worsening of the hunger problem, the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) declared government's "war on hunger" as lost and called for an accounting of the P1 billion alloted for it. The latest survey on hunger showed a "national deterioration" as more Filipinos went without food across the regions.

Judy Ann Miranda, secretary general of PM, asserted that "As critics have alleged, the war on hunger announced by GMA last March is a sham and a scandal. It is another billion of the people's money down the drain with no accomplishment to speak of."

The group is challenging Congress to make an investigation into the mechanics and expenditures of the program because of its "patent failure." Miranda added that "The NBN scandal is worth P15 billion and merited primetime attention from the Senate and the media. The anti-hunger budget of P1 billion is much less in comparison but it is no less important since it directly affects the poor."

The labor group asserts that the program was bound to fail since it "a band-aid solution to a crisis that needs major surgery." Miranda argues that "The free meals and cheap medicine that the government supposedly funded hardly scratch the surface of the hunger problem. It goes much deeper for hunger is rooted in a flawed policy on wages, jobs and debt. The cheap labor policy, jobs losses due to factory closures and automatic debt appropriation all combine to deny the people their daily bread." She cited the fact that the present minimum wage in the NCR of P362 is not even half of the P786 cost of living in the metropolis.

The Partido ng Manggagawa renewed its call for an economic relief package that involves a legislated wage hike, tax exemption for workers earning below the cost of living, subsidies for basic goods and services, amendments to the labor code to protect jobs, repeal of the law on automatic debt payments and the realignment of the savings to fund social programs. ###

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