“We say no to President Aquino’s dictatorship. We have had enough of pay cuts, taxes and lay-offs, which best describe the situation of the more than 1.4 million government employees for the last four years.”– Ferdinand Gaite, Courage president
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — “Enough of BS Aquino.”
Workers from various government offices marched to Mendiola on Thursday Sept. 11 and assailed “Aquino’s dictatorship.”
“We say no to President Aquino’s dictatorship. We have had enough of pay cuts, taxes and lay-offs, which best describe the situation of the more than 1.4 million government employees for the last four years,” Ferdinand Gaite, president of Courage, said, “We will not allow moves to tinker with the Constitution to extend President Aquino’s term.”
In a television interview, Aquino said he is open to the charter change, to clipping the powers of the Supreme Court and to a second term.
House Joint Resolution No. 1 is pending in the Congress seeking to amend economic provisions of the Constitution. Aquino earlier said he has no hand in pushing for charter change but critics belied this, citing Aquino allies that are strongly pushing for it.
Charles Alingod, 48, an employee of the National Food Authority (NFA) for the past 26 years, said his life did not improve under Aquino. In an interview with Bulatlat.com, he estimated that at least 60 percent of employees, get to take home not more than P3,000 ($68) a month because of their loan deductions from various government agencies and lending companies.
“They want to put taxes on our fringe benefits when we have been demanding a salary increase,” he said.
His colleague Nelson Sañada, an employee of NFA in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Aquino has favored the big businesses over the welfare of its workers and the Filipino people.
Sañada cited that, back in 2008, the NFA was given no budget to procure rice and provide subsidy to farmers. He said he is strongly against the pending moves to confine the role of NFA to merely “regulatory” to supposedly “level off the playing field” for those who are in the rice industry.
He said that providing low-priced food, especially rice, to the public should not be a business but service.
“Huwag na po. Hindi na po. Sobra na ang pahirap (Please, no more. It’s been too much suffering),” Sañada pleadingly said when asked if Aquino should be given a chance at second term.
Gaite said “thousands of now ex-government workers have joined the ranks of the unemployed courtesy of the Aquino administration’s rationalization, privatization and abolition through non-allocation of budget for personal services.”