July 27, 2015
With President Benigno Aquino III expected to dwell on his legacies in today’s SONA, the labor party Partido Manggagawa (PM) insisted that worsening inequality and jobless growth are the enduring legacies of his administration.
“Walang naituwid at walang naitawid si PNoy sa kanyang panunungkulan. Economic growth has not tricked down to the masses as unemployment, poverty, contractualization, low wages and lackluster social services persist. Worse, GDP growth has been monopolized by big capitalists as the wealth of the richest 50 Filipinos has ballooned in the last few years thus the chasm between rich and poor swelled even more,” explained Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.
Hundreds of PM members joined the SONA protest launched by the labor coalition Nagkaisa and various multisectoral groups. Ahead of the main afternoon counter-SONA rally, some 50 members of PM-Kabataan, its PM’s youth organization, held a flash mob in front of the TUCP/PGEA compound to dramatize the sorry state of the youth. Other PM-Kabataan members held giant placards that spelled the message: “5 Taon ni PNoy: Kabataan NGA-NGA!” Counter-SONA protests were also held by PM chapters in Cebu at downtown Colon and in Davao in front of the city hall.
Magtubo added that “Even as PNoy focuses on his unique achievements in his SONA, his administration is essentially no different from past regimes in sacrificing the workers and the poor in the altar of globalization. The state of the workers is best illustrated by the industrial tragedy at Kentex and the plight of OFW Mary Jane Veloso. Sweatshops and cheap labor are the norm not just in Valenzuela but everywhere. No wonder, Filipinos choose to go abroad in a futile search for greener pastures, only to fall victim to criminal syndicates, abusive employers and lack of labor rights and social protection in other countries.”
PM’s Magtubo averred that Aquino’s good governance record is at best spotty, as many critics have pointed out that the so-called anti-corruption campaign has only targeted well-known opposition leaders. The group also argues that poverty reduction is dependent on the massive funds allocated to the nationwide dole out program of CCT that remains hobbled by patronage system at the ground. Finally PM also claims that a big chunk of the jobs generated under Aquino is mainly due to the emergency work program.
“By itself, dispensing emergency work is positive but ours pales in comparison to similar programs in other countries. In the
Philippines, emergency work in the form of
DOLE’s TUPAD lasts only for 15 days for every year while in India, the law called NREGA guarantees 100 days
of wage employment for every rural family annually,” Magtubo described.