Thursday, October 07, 2004

NR1005c:on latest SWS survey on poverty

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 5, 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362


Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that Pres. Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo administration has no right to blame the country's worsening
economic situation on the insurgency, or unemployment."Why - is it the
insurgents who sign all those executive orders and laws that liberalize the
country's trade and finance which has the effect of destroying the local
economy and wipe-out businesses and the livelihood of millions of workers? For
an economic expert, the president has the most illogical and non-sequitur
responses. She shouldn't pass the blame because the blame is solely hers and
her government's," he asserted.

Beltran said that the government will not be able to make a dent in the
worsening poverty of the Filipino people because, he said, the government's
economic policies and political platform was geared towards further opening the
crucial sectors of the economy to the plunder and exploitation of foreign
investors and multilateral finance agencies whose main goals is to extract the
greatest from the country at the lowest capital outlay and actual cash

Beltran said that the latest Social Weather Survey (SWS) exposing the worsening
poverty incidence in the country did not really reveal anything new, "At least
nothing that isn't already know, felt and suffered by majority of poor and
working Filipinos who are the main victims of the Macapagal-Arroyo
administration's fiscal crisis and even more fiscal solutions.
An August 5-22 national survey by Manila-based Social Weather Stations found a
"near-record-high 15.1 percent of household heads reporting that their families
had experienced hunger, without having anything to eat, at least once in the
last three months."
Fifty-three percent of households rated themselves as poor.
An International Monetary Fund country report released this week said four in 10
Filipinos earned two dollars a day or less.Official figures show the Philippines
jobless rate stood at 13.7 percent in April.
"No doubt, the lives of Filipino will only continue to worsen under
Macapagal-Arroyo. There is no hope to be had under her administration given its
refusal to implement radical economic reforms that will provide immediate and
much needed relief to Filipinos," he said.

Beltran said that the Arroyo government won't even consider giving a respite for
consumers from the relentless series of oil price hikes and escalating rates of
electricity and water services.

"Instead of responding to the needs of the people for better wages, lower prices
of goods and services, the administration hastens to appease foreign investors
and give them full assistance as these multinationals and transnationals
exploit the low wage policy and the tax exemption programs. The 2005 national
budget proposal itself is a blueprint for worsened neglect for social and
economic services for the poor majority. Degradation, misery, poor health and
stunted intellectual growth are all that's in store for the Filipino people
under Macapagal-Arroyo," he said.

In the meantime, the veteran labor leader said that the Macapagl-Arroyo govt's
ban on strikes is outright political repression against workers who are raging
against the government and employers' continuing attacks against their economic
welfare. According to Beltran, the strike ban was being used to entice foreign
investors o come into the country and further exploit the government's low age,
labor flexibility schemes. He said that the strike ban was unconstitutional and
goes against the internationally recognized right of labor to launch collective
action even strikes in defense of their rights.

"This ban only proves how serious the economic crisis is, and how desperate the
government is to contain the burgeoning protests against it. Pres. Arroyo is
mistaken, however, if she thinks that a strike ban will stop workers from
protesting and denouncing her government. There can be no industrial peace if
there is no justice for labor," he said.#


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