Friday, October 4, 2013

Workers voice stand against pork barrel, patronage politics in Ayala rally

4 October 2013
The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said that the Million People March Part 2 in Ayala today will be an opportunity for workers to “register their voice against the pork barrel and patronage politics.” “Both the venue and protest date are significant to workers. The Ayala district is home to at least one million blue and white collar job workers.  Beginning today workers in NCR are due to receive a P10 crumb from the new Wage Order,” stated PM Chair Renato Magtubo.

Insisting that “Through the system of withholding taxes on our salaries and wages, and VAT on the goods and services we buy, workers do not only pay the right amount of taxes on time, we also disproportionately provide a greater share of our income to the national treasury,” the group expected Makati employees and workers to participate actively in the protest.

Magtubo said workers are enraged at how billions of pesos of taxes that were paid out of workers’ productivity are appropriated by corrupt politicians among themselves. “The new economic formula called Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), since illegal, is nothing but contraband smuggled into the pockets of lawmakers for a special job well done,” said Magtubo, referring to the additional allocation to lawmakers on top of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) after the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

The labor leader and former party-list representative added that DAP, as explained by Malacanang, is a stimulant for ‘miscarriage’ and not for ‘growth’ since its implementation is worse than the PDAF. “The best thing it was able to achieve was boost the spending spree or personal savings of politicians not the purchasing power of ordinary workers,” Magtubo concluded.

PM is advocating the rechanneling of funds freed by the abolition of pork barrel to universal social protection such as universal healthcare, mass housing, public education, public employment, climate programs, and other services. Magtubo appealed to anti-pork protesters “Not to stop at abolition and push for an alternative fund distribution system in which social services will be as accessible as a right and not subject to the patronage of politicians. The anti-pork protest should develop into a movement for universal social protection and also converge with the anti-epal, anti-trapo and anti-dynasty advocacies of the last elections. Such is a roadmap towards lasting political change in our country.”

Upon its issuance last month, PM described the P10 wage order an insult and a classic case of bigay-bawi since its value eventually eroded by the impending MRT rate hike, increase in price of rice, and the looming power and water rates increases. Amidst the backdrop of protruding corruption scandals in the highest levels of government, Magtubo said, “the workers’ need to deliver its strongest condemnation of this system: Enough of this kind of rule!”

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