Saturday, August 17, 2013

Porky solons missing the point of labor group

17 August 2013

Perhaps solons are suffering from pork overdose that they totally missed the point raised by Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) on MRT-LRT subsidy, the group’s spokesman said in a statement.  The group is opposing the proposed P10 fare hike in the MRT and LRT systems.

Administration allies in the House of Representatives led by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, and House Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna, ganged up on PM, describing as “ridiculous” and “misplaced” the group’s assertion that VIPs in government led by the President and members of Congress and the Judiciary enjoy hefty travel allowances compared to the P13 per day subsidy allotted for MRT-LRT commuters.

“They completely missed our point.  Our message was very simple: Why remove the subsidy being enjoyed 460 million times in a year by millions of poor MRT-LRT commuters when few VIPs enjoy a much bigger travel subsidy from taxpayers?  The issue is inequality,” said PM spokesman Wilson Fortaleza.

He added that “In being apologists of the President’s huge transportation subsidy, these porky solons are also providing an alibi for their own travel privileges amounting to P1.7 million per day for 278 lower house representatives.”

PM disclosed earlier that based on the General Appropriations Act of 2012, P344 million was allotted for the Office of the President or equivalent to P943,000 per day.  The Vice President’s travel subsidy was P16.52 million or P45,000 per day; the 23 senators P311.69 million or P854,000 per day; the 15 justices of the Supreme Court, at least P143.29 million or P392,000 a day.

Defending the President’s travel perks, Fortaleza said, was perhaps these solons’ strategy of defending their House which now burns in pork scandal. Fortaleza explained further that social inequalities reflected in the economy are tightly connected with prevailing State policies, specifically on the issue of subsidies.

PM believes that subsidy is not a bad thing if it is in pursuit of social objectives.  “Inequality occurs when millionaire politicians and rent-seekers in business complain about subsidies allocated to the poor when they themselves are heavily subsidized by taxpayers,” lamented Fortaleza.

Citing media reports, Fortaleza pointed to the 2012 Statements of Assets Liabilities and Networths (SALN) where 98% or 271 out of 278 members of Congress were declared millionaires, wherein each of the top 29 netted at least P100-M. Likewise it is only Bro. Armin Luistro of DepEd who is a non-millionaire in PNoy’s official Cabinet.

“We fully subsidize their travel. Yet they complain of the subsidy they appropriate to the poor commuters,” concluded Fortaleza.

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