Monday, September 12, 2005

NR0911:Two releases on EVAT travelling circus; Transport strike

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release September 11, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
cp number 09213907362

Solon slams GMA government’s EVAT info campaign, calls it ‘traveling circus and circus of lies’ and junket-bribe for remaining cabinet officials

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran expressed strong condemnation for what he termed as Malacanang’s ‘travelling circus and carnival of lies’ as the government launches a massive P15-million information drive to let the public know the effects of the expanded value-added tax (VAT) on various sectors once it is implemented.

“This is a shameless disinformation drive, a multimillion campaign to confuse and brainwash the public regarding the true nature and use of the VAT,” he said.

According to reports, ranking officials of the Departments of Finance, Trade and Industry, Energy, and Agriculture are going around the country explain the VAT to entrepreneurs and consumers and correct misconceptions about the law.

“This is an outrage. P15 million for a disinformation campaign! The EVAT is a regressive taxation that without doubt will plunge Filipino deeper into poverty. The only ones crowing about this infamous and immoral law are the big business groups
and the corrupt officials in government who are eager to extract more blood money from Filipinos to fund their respective self-serving interests,” he said.

“The government will never be able to hoodwink the public into believing that additional taxes mean more services for the people. In this country run by a hideously corrupt government, majority of the taxes extracted from the people go to only three destinations: 1) pockets of unscrupulous public officials including the president; 2) foreign debt servicing; and 3) military spending.”

“Every centavo to be used to deliver the lies and excuses surrounding the VAT is money stolen from the Filipino people; money that should have gone to health or housing services. How dare this government spend so much on a disinformation drive! There is no justifying this outrage. This disinformation campaign is nothing but a luxury junket for government officials, Pres. Arroyo way to woo her remaining cabinet officials and executives.”

Beltran said that the pending implementation of the VAT is also a strong and compelling reason to demand the removal of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from office. He said that there is no way Filipinos will be able to absorb the destructive impact of the VAT on their small wages without resorting to serious cutbacks on the important and basic needs for survival of their families. “The fight to remove Macapagal-Arroyo from power is also a struggle to keep Filipino families afloat. The Arroyo government’s various policies on taxation and budgetary allocations severely undermine the welfare of millions of Filipinos all over the nation. The VAT will hit even the unemployed and the homeless – the country’s poorest of the poor. Pres. Arroyo has turned the Filipino people into a nation of mendicants,” he said.” #

Measly rolback in electricity meaningless and any positive impact already negated by new P0.50 oil price hike

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that any positive impact the P0.23 rollback in electricity rates could have on the economic welfare of Filipinos has already been negated by the continuous increase of oil prices and the pending implementation of the new 10% expanded value-added tax.

Oil firms Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Caltex Philippines Inc. and Total (Philippines) Corp. yesterday raised gasoline, diesel and kerosene prices by 50 centavos a liter and cooking gas prices by 50 centavos per kilogram. Caltex and Total led the price hikes at 12:01 a.m., followed by Shell at 6 a.m. New players Eastern Petroleum Corp. and Unioil Petroleum Philippines Inc. also increased gasoline, diesel and kerosene prices by the same levels at noon and 6 p.m., respectively. Petron Corp. and Flying V will implement a similar price increase at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow.

“If Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expecting expressions of gratitude for this electricity rate rollback, she should prepare to be disappointed. For one thing, a P0.23/kwh rate rollback is too small, and for another, Meralco and its independent power producers (IPPs) steal this amount back with over 100% interest by jacking the other imbedded rates in the monthly bills charged consumers,” he said. “This is transparently a ploy to pacify the public and to regain trust and sympathy. She’s not going to get it,” he said.

The veteran labor leader turned activist lawmaker said that the pending implementation of the EVAT is certain to pull electricity rates heavenward. “In fact, electricity rates have rocketed way past the hemisphere; but with the EVAT, it’s highly likely that the rates will be so exorbitant that many households will be forced to use candles and gas lamps as an alternative to electric lighting,” he said. “The government’s inutility in whipping Meralco and its IPPs into shape to bring down their rates is causing the Philippines to devolve economically.”

In the meantime, Beltran said that tomorrow’s nationally-coordinated transport strikes to be spearheaded by the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide or PISTON and the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is a prelude to a possible nationwide people’s strike or Welgang Bayan directed against the Macapagal-Arroyo presidency.

“What use is this administration to the Filipino people? Not only is it headed by a corrupt and illegitimate president, it’s also doing nothing to rescue Filipinos from ever-worsening poverty. There is no relief or assistance to be expected from Pres. Arroyo; she is incapable of giving what the Filipino people and this country need to recover and progress politically and economically. What the country needs is decisive, pro-people collective leadership that will implement radical reforms that will do away with the destructive globalization policies that legalize the immoral greed of the oil and electricity companies,” he said.#

Anakpawis solons Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano will be joining the Transport Strike tomorrow and will be at the Welcome Rotonda rallying point by 6am. Media coverage is requested. Thank you very much!


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