Urban poor group berates anti-people gov’t policies; Romualdez, Petilla ‘hypocrites’

Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY)- Metro Tacloban lambasted the new tax reform law, Thursday, saying it only promotes more anti-people policies, and “further pushes the already poverty-stricken Filipinos to even poorer conditions”.

On March 8, representatives from urban poor group Kadamay, senior citizen group An Katigurangan, and other sectors from Tacloban City convened to launch Consumers’ United Network for Economic Rights and Welfare (COUNTER), an alliance of the youth, women, urban poor, teachers, transport sector, senior citizens, and members of the academe. The alliance condemns what it calls “anti-people” policies under the Duterte administration including the jeepney phaseout and the issue of LMWD privatization.

The issue on privatization erupted on December of last year when the LMWD management announced the agency’s joint venture to public-private partnership (PPP), essentially paving the way for privatization, according to consumers and employees. The government and city officials are currently in a strife over the appointment of members of the agency’s Board of Directors with Tacloban City Mayor Christina Romualdez seeking permission from the central government to appoint members of the BOD.

Christopher Durana, KADAMAY-Metro Tacloban secretary general condemned the usurpation of management over the Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD) and called the Romualdez and Petilla clans hypocritical. According to Durana, residents of Tacloban City, especially those in the resettlement areas in Northern Tacloban suffer under poor conditions in water supply. “Instead of seeing how the residents of Tacloban need a better water system, they are immersing themselves in this petty fight and show of power,” says Durana.

“New tax reform is anti-poor”- urban poor group

According to data from independent think-tank IBON Foundation, 80% of the Philippine population earn a family living wage lower than P30,000 per month, yet are obliged to pay the same amount of taxes as the 20% who earn an average of P30,000 family living wage per month. Meanwhile, the unconditional cash transfer program of the government will only last until 2020, proving to be inadequate for the 10 million poorest families of the country, according to IBON.

“The government has imposed a heavier Value Added Tax (VAT), which expanded to be the E-VAT, and now we have the TRAIN law. What’s disappointing is that the funds collected do not translate to social services for the poor,” Durana added.

Durana also slammed the Duterte administration’s leaning towards multinational and foreign corporations saying the government further extracts labor and money from the poor to fund to help fund for the needs of big corporations.

The group also slammed the government’s “tranquilizer, anesthesia” policy saying it was only copied from the Macapagal-Arroyo and Aquino administrations’ MCCT and 4Ps program. Durana stressed that this policy only serves to mask the “anti-people and anti-poor” TRAIN law, and the Duterte administration’s failure to implement pro-people policies.

The group called on the Duterte administration to provide genuine social services to the poor and implement pro-people policies that will benefit the Filipino people.

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Eastern Vista

Eastern Vista is an alternative media organization in Eastern Visayas. Stories of people in the struggle for justice and aid after super typhoon Yolanda inspired its creation in 2014. Eastern Vista is also a co-producer of Lingganay han Kamatuoran, a Waray-based radio magazine program airing since 2003. From Eastern Philippines, Eastern Vista shares the news and views from a people rising.

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