Worsening Poverty

Black Friday Protest vs ENDO
SMDC, Welcome Rotonda April 20, 2018

ACT (Alliance of Concerned Teachers) and labor groups Alyansa ng mga Manggagawa Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon (ALMA Kontraktwal), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Metro Manila and Defend Job Philippines staged a rally at the Welcome Rotonda, April 20 to protest the worsening poverty and Duterte’s failure to sign and issue an Executive Order to stop contractualization.

Amidst school break, teachers led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers hold ‘BLACK FRIDAY PROTEST’ bang empty pots and pans to protest against the worsening economic crisis felt by their families at Welcome Rotonda today.

The action is also an indignation protest to the recent reversal of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte of his promise to sign an executive order to end contractualization. “These empty pots and pans illustrate the hardships experienced by teachers and the people due to the recent spate of price increases in rice and basic commodities while no significant salary increase was implemented under the Duterte regime,” said Benjamin Valbuena, ACT Philippines Chairperson.

Valbuena said that teachers are suffering the full impact of Duterte’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, especially that Pres. Duterte fails to fulfill his promise to hike teacher’s salaries. Worse, he said, the Duterte administration has failed the contractual employees twice as on top of low salaries, the he has abandoned his promise decisively end ‘Endo’ through an executive order.

“Low income earners, including teachers, are having difficulties in providing food on the table because of the rising prices of rice, water, electricity, oil and other basic needs,” Valbuena added.

Philippine Statistics Authority data show spike in inflation rate, at 4.3 percent in March 2018 — the highest inflation rate since November 2011. Ibon Foundation reported the hike on oil excise taxes in 2018 that include Php1 for every kilogram of LPG and Php2.50, Php7, Php3 for every liter of diesel, gasoline and kerosene respectively. Meralco applied a P0.75 and P0.33 per kWh increase last February and March respectively that resulted to an estimated P100 additional burden for every household that consume 100kWh. Meanwhile, an average increase of P2 per kilo of rice this February hit the Filipino tables.

ACT press for increasing the basic pay of teachers to Php 30,000 and of the non-teaching employees to Php 16,000 a month to ‘at least let their families get by with the daily household expenses.’ “The teachers’ need for significant salary increase become more urgent by the day. In no way will we agree to the Duterte regime’s plan to put it off until 2020.” Valbuena pressed. The forthcoming May 1 will be Duterte’s second Labor Day in Malacanang but it has not fulfilled its campaign promises to alleviate the economic conditions of the working Filipinos. No concrete steps have been seen to increase teachers’ salaries and workers’ wages while recently it turned back to its promise to end contractualization for the awaiting 13 million contractual workers. “The teachers are now seeing clearly the true colors of this regime. Behind Pres. Duterte’s dramatic rhetorics of love for the poor Filipinos is his callousness and disinterest in heeding the cries of the people grueling in crisis. As such, we, teachers, will be marching alongside the Filipino workers on the big Labor Day protest to condemn the Duterte regime’s inutility.’ said Valbuena. ###

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Tel.Fax: (+63 2) 283 9669, (+63 2) 426 2238 E-mail: actphilippines@gmail.com