PLM statement on Labor Day 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 20:29

PLM Statement on Labor Day

 

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) welcomes the enduring unity of the Filipino workers who will again be marching together under the banner of the broad labor coalition Nagkaisa!

 

While we celebrate Labor Day, we know that there is no relief in sight to our gloom and misery even under the new dispensation. The PNoy government crows about the increase in economic growth rate as the highest in Southeast Asia. Our GDP has increased by 6.6% in 2012 while Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam scored lower rates than this.

 

What the government doesn’t say is that this growth has not been accompanied by jobs, therefore, it has not brought any relief to the poor. The growth hasn’t ‘trickled down’ and remains in the pocket of so few, mainly the 40 Filipino billionaires who profited while rest wallow in poverty.

 

The poverty rates alone (27% poverty incidence) have remained unchanged since 2006. This, despite the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program, which is supposed to have alleviated poverty in the country. The CCT program, as any other program of the Aquino program, has clearly failed.

 

Today, the PNoy government is offering instead a ‘job fair’ that aims to dispense 400,000 jobs to the masses. This is clearly a joke in a country with 3 million people unemployed and 8 million still counted as underemployed!

 

The government is not even considering wage increase for the workers. During the ‘breakfast dialogue’ with labor leaders, PNoy is set to announce a set of non-wage benefits which surely will look like another joke, just like the ‘job fair’.

 

If the government is intent on alleviating poverty, a legislated across-the-board wage increase is necessary. And any meaningful non-wage benefit would have to include the following:

 

  • Bringing down prices of basic commodities like rice, cooking oil, LPG, milk, electricity, gas, and others by junking VAT and providing government subsidy to these basic goods.
  • Bringing down tuition fees for students or providing free education from elementary to college to students from poor families.
  • Free hospitalization and medicines for the poor, including the setting up of government clinics with attending doctors and nurses, and free medicines, to all barangays.
  • Moratorium on demolition of poor communities and massive public housing programs for the poor.

 

These would amount to an increase of the ‘social wage’ that will be a boon to the masses, but will not hurt the pockets of small entrepreneurs. It takes political will for the government to do this, as the increase of the ‘social wage’ will have to be shouldered by taxing the rich (start with the 40 Filipino billionaires) and by declaring a moratorium on foreign debts.

 

A genuine increase in the social wage cannot be achieved without fundamental socio-economic changes. It will require, for example, a redistribution of wealth. This is the only way poverty and hunger can be significantly reduced and ultimately eradicated. The Aquino government, however, is committed to implementing a neoliberal program, which is the primary reason for the continuing poverty and hunger in the country.

 

The lesson is clear: The Aquino government, like the previous regimes, has failed in providing for the basic needs of the majority of the population. And it will continue to fail, until we have established a genuine government of the masses, run by the masses, and serving the interests of the masses.

 

Sonny Melencio

Chairperson, PLM

 

 

 

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