Bayan, Transmission calls for a nationwide transport strike on Monday

May. 12, 2008

Amidst the seemingly unending sufferings of the Filipino people, we from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Southern Mindanao, Transmision-PISTON and Consumer Alert have come together to support the nationwide transport strike on May 12. This is to brave the sham, corrupt, and fascist regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In Philippine history, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s presidency has set incomparable records of price hikes, unemployment, corruption, and extrajudicial killings.

Since Arroyo took over in January 2001, the pump price of gasoline and diesel has more than doubled. Her continuing subservience to the demands and dictates of big oil players through the Oil Deregulation Law has resulted to the overpricing of oil products by 4.55 pesos at the gasoline stations. With drivers taking home a net income of less than 200 pesos daily, the recent increase of almost 6 pesos is too much. Each 3-peso increase in the price of oil is a daily loss of 90 pesos.

Just this year, the country was alarmed by the swift increase in the prices of rice.

We believe that the crisis on rice is an inevitable under the General Tariff on Trade and World Trade Organization’s agreement on agriculture which our country had entered into in 1995.

GATT-WTO’s insistent push for rice importation since 1995 has resulted to relentless increases in rice prices. That year alone, rice prices went up to 20 pesos from 8 pesos per kilo. At present, the already high price of 34 pesos per kilo of rice is set to increase to as much as 40 pesos per kilo in the coming months.

Diffucult to imagine that the country’s rice industry is actually earning 80 billion pesos yearly from rice importation. Or not so difficult at all if you see that this amount is concentrated in the hands of local businessmen who form part of the rice cartel.

Also under the Arroyo administration, prices of basic commodities and services have increased by 38% due to its continued implementation of the Expanded Value Added Tax. Estimates show that the poorest 10 percent of Filipino families have had to bear the burden an additional 29 pesos in their monthly expenses since EVAT was implemented. We also see imminent increases in power and water rates before Gloria Arroyo’s term ends in 2010.

Current employment data also reveals more than 4 million Filipinos are jobless while six million Filipinos who are already employed Filipinos are underemployed, still trying to find additional income.

In most cases, Filipino workers can only find contractual employment, often threatened of massive retrenchment. Employers refuse to grant substantial and stable wages for their employees knowing full well that the Arroyo government will not push them.

It is ironic that as the cost of living is constantly going up due to incessant increases in the prices of rice and other basic commodities and services, the minimum wages have barely increased in the past few years. Data revealed that the difference between the minimum wage and the cost of living has increased by 72.27 percent between 2001 and 2006, and the gap is widening by 11.6 percent every year.

To complete Arroyo’s ghastly records, the spate of political killings have victimized 696 persons as of June 30, 2006.

There is no hope of a better life for the Filipino people under Gloria Arroyo’s sham presidency. In her government’s prioritization, only 30 percent of the 1.32 trillion pesos of the national budget is allocated for social services while, more than 50 percent has been allocated for debt servicing. This explains why almost 50 million Filipinos experience hunger everyday and more than 35 million urban poor Filipinos live in communities without housing facilities and access to basic social services.

Our government is not only bound to fail in providing the legitimate demands of the people as it continues to succumb to US imperialist dictates, Arroyo turns a blind eye to the peoples needs and creates legislation that worsens their plight.

Thus, we are urging the people to act in defense of their rights and welfare. More than ever, now is the time to fight back! When our rights to eat, work, live in decent shelters, be educated, and be safe from harm are all blatantly neglected, we only have our unity as protection to our basic human rights.

Scrap Oil Deregulation Law!

Implement price control on rice!

Dismantle Rice and Oil Cartels!

Legislate P125 across-the-board nationwide wage increase for workers

and P3,000 additional salary for government employees!

Oust Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo!

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