Monday, January 31, 2005

NR0131: Pro-VAT Senators to be target of protests

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release January 31, 2005

Rep. Beltran says Senators who support the 12% VAT bill will also be the
target of protests; reminds them of their campaign promises last May that they
will fight for the poor

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that Malacanang and its
allies who support the 12% increase in the value-added tax where using the
fiscal crisis to justify heightened attacks against the poor and the rest of
the Filipino people. He said that if the Senate railroads the increased VAT
bill the same way Congress did last week, the Macapagal-Arroyo administration
will have bigger protests against it, and the pro-VAT senators and congressmen
will also be the target of these protests.

"They'll be denounced in very urban poor community, barangay, marketplace and
factory belt. There is no justifying the passage of a bill increasing taxes.
The Arroyo administration is using the fiscal crisis against the Filipino
people as if the poor and marginalized sectors aren't the main victims of this
crisis," he said.

Beltran said that Senator Francis' Pangilinan decision to support the bill was
a massive disappointment. He said that it was the poor who supported
Pangilinan's candidacy and secured his victory in the 2001 elections,
nevermind that he had previously had a losing streak in elections in the
local government levels.

"Even if many would say that Sen. Pangilinan won because of the star power lent
by his wife Ms. Sharon Cuneta, he has the chops to do a good job as a solon of
the poor if he wanted to. It's such a disappointment that Sen. Pangilinan is
supporting a measure that directly attacks the poor and working people directly
in the gut," he said.

The veteran labor leader said that senators should remember the promises they
made to the poor during the electoral campaign leading to May 11, 2004. "At the
time, they were wooing the poor and begging for their support and their votes,
pledging loyalty to them and vowing to alleviate their poverty. Now, pro-VAT
senators like their counterparts in Congress have shown that their true
allegiances lie with Malacanang."

Finally, Beltran said that it will not be surprising if the impeachment calls
and demands for Pres. Arroyo's resignation begin pouring in. "There are already
numerous bases to call for the president's impeachment -- she continues to
sign executive orders and forge agreements with local and foreign business
groups as well as foreign governments that directly undermine the welfare and
interest of the poor and working people. The leniency she has shown to ousted
president Joseph Estrada, and her continuing support to the US' so-called
campaign against terrorism to t he extent of allowing an American spy network
in the country to be established are already strong arguments against her. She
has betrayed the nation and the people time and again," he said.#


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