Davao activists dismayed over Arroyo’s failure to address rising cost of food, fuel

Jul. 01, 2008

Davao City– Militant groups were dismayed over President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s move to strengthen her political party amidst the growing demands for more affordable food, lower prices of oil from the people.

The groups of Bayan, Kadamay, Gabriela, Transmision Piston, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, Bayan Muna and Anakpawis staged a protest near APO View Hotel on June 18, when the President was in the city for the merger of her party, the Lakas- Christian and Moro Democrats (Lakas- CMD) party with the Kampi (Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino) in preparation for the 2010 elections.

“They prioritize their political ambitions before addressing the economic crisis that is already causing suffering to the people,” said Inday Duterte, the spokesperson and regional coordinator of Anakpawis partylist in the region.

Duterte said the problem on rice that has been going on for months has been making life harder for Filipinos. She added that even drivers and jeepney and taxi operators are suffering from the unabated increase in oil prices. Workers continue to receive measly wages amidst the increasing prices of food and other commodities.

Arroyo graced the Lakas- CMD and Kampi merger in preparations for the 2010 elections. The two were the country’s biggest political parties who currently support the President.

Arroyo said the merger of the two parties would lead to stronger economy.

But Duterte said the President has ignored people’s call for the scrapping of the oil deregulation law which has made life more difficult for Filipinos; the removal of twelve percent VAT in goods and services, the 10-year clamor for a 125 across- the- board wage increase for workers in the private sector and P3,000 wage increase for government rank-and-file workers.

Arroyo proceeded to Davao Oriental the next day for the inauguration of a new market in Mati but Duterte said the President paid no attention to the people there. President Arroyo left after few minutes of checking the new market stalls and didn’t even talk to the people who waited for her to arrive.

“She didn’t want to listen (to the protests) because she wanted to show that there was no economic crisis,” Duterte said.

Jeppie Ramada, secretary- general of Bayan said the merger was not to create policies that will uplift people’s lives but consolidate the influence of landed families and the political elites.

Edil Gonzaga, spokesperson of transport group Transmision- Piston, said his group will hold Black Friday protests each week because of the worsening poverty. The protests will continue until July, in time for the President’s State of the Nation Address. (Grace S. Uddin/ davaotoday.com)

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