Monday, October 11, 2004

NR1009: Call to abolish Congress--a challenge for it to change its orientation

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 9, 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 the call to abolish
Congress is a challenge for it to change its orientation and stop anti-people

The fact that HOR wants to mangle and twist the constitution to legalize the
attacks against the nation's economic sovereignty and political independence is
highly anti-people. What is Congress now is but an instrument of the ruling
elite to perpetuate a system that keeps the majority in deep poverty in a small
minority rolling in ill-gotten undeserved wealth.

"The challenge is for Congress to prove its worth in the eyes of the people by
passing laws like the nationalization of a minimum wage, nationalization of
oil, electricity, water, and medicine industries. At present, however, Congress
is pushing for the Anti-terrorism law, Charter Change, new tax measures and
attrition against government employees; it is clearly working against the
people," he said.

Meanwhile, Beltran made it clear that there was no contradiction between his and
fellow Anakpawis Representative Rafael Mariano's views on the issue of
abolishing Congress.

"Let me reiterate: the proposal is attractive if and only if the P67.7 billion
in savings would be directly used to increase the allocations for agriculture,
agrarian reform, the budgets of public schools, state universities, and public
hospitals, as well used for the creation of genuinely subsidized housing for
the urban poor. But knowing the orientation of the Macapagal-Arroyo
administration, all savings would be directed towards debt servicing and
military modernization. This makes the proposal odious."

A careful look at the statements of the two Anakpawis representatives shows that
there is actually no contradiction. Mariano's call for Congress to be replaced
is possible only after this present corrupt and reactionary Congress is
abolished. "The present Congress is useless for, instead of advancing the
interests of its constituents, it serves the interest of foreign multilateral
finance agencies - the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to name
a few - which dictate wrong policies to our government. Abolishing the
Congress is a hopeless attempt to cap the present economic crisis, and like the
food-coupon system, will not do the people any good in the long run if the basic
economic framework of trade liberalization and privatization remains."

As regards Majority Floor Leader Prospero Nograles' labeling of Beltran as a
hypocrite, Ina Silverio, Beltran's chief of staff said, "Ka Bel is not a
hypocrite. He believes working in Congress is an additional venue to ventilate
people's issues. He was elected by the masses using neither guns, goons, nor
gold. He is a labor leader - a representative of the toiling masses first and
foremost, not just a congressman." Moreover, she said all the bills,
resolutions, privilege speeches and positions on various issues are all
pro-people, clearly disproving Nograles' accusations.

She further said that Congress is nothing but "a clearing house for vicious
edicts against the people and that Ka Bel is there to expose these and report
to the Filipino people."

"Congress is so near Payatas but it can't even help the people there. Even
within the very halls of the House there are numerous unfair labor practices
against the employees. Now who is the real hypocrite?" ###


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