Wednesday, March 09, 2005

NR0309:Refuse ODAs; oppose anti-terror measures

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 9, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Malacanang should repudiate foreign debt; refuse ODA offered by WB. These financial assistance funds do the country more harm than good - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative today expressed outrage over the threat of the World Bank that it will withhold official development assistance (ODA) and other financial assistance to the Philippines if the country does not immediately pass the VAT law and hasten the implementation of its fiscal reform program.

"It's obvious that the WB and other international finance institutions (IFIs) such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are the masterminds behind the VAT and the other infamous tax measures Malacanang is pressuring Congress to pass," he said.

"The Filipino people are up in arms against the VAT and the other tax bills, but Malacanang is desperate to remain on the good side of the WB and other IFIs so it's cracking the whip on Congress and the Senate. The poor and marginalized sectors are going to be severely victimized by these tax bills, and Malacanang couldn't care less. Clearly, the WB and the IFIs have Malacanang by the short hairs. Instead of asserting institutional independence and expressing outrage against such blackmailing, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is simpering and hastening to assure the WB, ADB and foreign investors that the VAT and other tax laws will be passed come hell or high water," he said.

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that the Philippine government should resist and condemn the threat made by the WB. "We owe the WB nothing. The Filipino people have bled and bled to pay the onerous debts made by previous administrations and this exploitation should stop. The ODA and other financial assistance packages given by the WB and the other IFIs were not gifts, but loans that have iron chains attached to them, binding the nation and the people to fiscal mendicancy. Government should immediately repudiate these debts and stop availing of these ODAs. They do the economy and the people more harm than good," he said.

UN Delegation's recommendation for anti-terror measures shameful, encourages RP govt's rising fascist tendencies

In the meantime, the activist solon said that the United Nations Delegation's recommendation for the passage of an anti-terror law in the country should be ignored. "The UN should know better than to recommend the passage and implementation of legislation that will further crucify human and civil rights in politically backward countries such as the Philippines," he said.

"The Macapagal-Arroyo administration grows increasingly authoritarian, and its fascist tendencies are making themselves felt. An national ID system and an anti-terrorism bill will only legitimize the brutality the government is unleashing against the civilian populace through military and police operations. The UN delegation 's recommendation is shameful," he said.

Beltran said that proposed national identification system as a reminiscent of the Marcos dictatorship. He said that the system was first launched during former President Ferdinand Marcos's term in 1973 but was not implemented due to protests from the public. Then the proposal was revived in 1982 under Parliamentary Bill no. 2447 but, again, was not imposed due to massive protest actions.

"The implementation of a Barangay-based ID system is but an extension of this greater evil," he said. "Local government officials are better of pushing for national reforms that will increase subsidies for public hospitals, public schools and the establishment of other public service infrastructure instead of jumping on this anti-terror bandwagon," he said. "This barangay ID system, like it's national counterpart will result in more illegal search and surveillance operations, harassment, persecution, bribery, discrimination, and racial profiling," he said.#


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