“If BBM does not believe government data that the inflation rate in the country has reached 6.1 percent, we, the poor, will express the true suffering that we are experiencing due to high prices of essential goods.”
By JOSH AVENGOZA
MANILA — Urban poor groups are concerned that their situation would worsen if their demands would not be addressed by the government.
In the State of the Urban Poor Address held last July 15 in Quezon City, urban poor groups led by Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) and Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) called on President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. to heed their demands as his first State of the Nation Address draws near.
They laid out the problems faced by the urban poor, the sector directly affected by inflation and rising oil prices.
“If BBM does not believe government data that the inflation rate in the country has reached 6.1 percent, we, the poor, will express the true suffering that we are experiencing due to high prices of essential goods,” KADAMAY Secretary-General Mimi Doringo said in Filipino in a press statement.
Doringo said that Marcos Jr. should prioritize housing as the Duterte administration left a 6.7-million housing backlog at the end of his term; stop the demolitions of urban poor communities; and transparency on the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
“They should take care of the people rather than being too concerned on spending public funds. On how to manage our taxes properly in order to address our clamor for better social services,” she said.
PISTON emphasized how the oil price hikes affected their living, together with the laws and additional taxes due to the Oil Deregulation Law, Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, excise tax for oil, and expanded value added tax (EVAT), which adds to their suffering, lessening their incomes further as oil prices go up.
They assert that the jeepney modernization plan endangers the livelihood of jeepney drivers, especially those who cannot afford the new models. Although the Marcos Jr. administration promised that it will only push for the rehabilitation and remodeling of the jeepneys, the groups continue to call for the junking of the modernization itself.
“As long as we don’t have any document that says that Marcos officially declares not to remove public transport, we cannot hold on to his promise made while he was campaigning.,” PISTON President Mody Floranda said in Filipino.
The Contract of Service Employees Association (COSEA) under the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) meanwhile called for the end of contractualization in government offices.
“We call for the regularization of workers. Because of the continuing rise of prices of oil and essential goods, we do not have enough to put food on our tables.” COSEA said.
They also expressed worry on the current administration’s streamlining plans in government agencies, which they believe would just fortify the contractualization of government workers.
Because of this, they said that they will join the nationwide protests during the first SONA of Marcos Jr. to forward their calls and to await Marcos’ answers to their demands.
“The PNP said that we should first listen to BBM because he is still in his first month, but the bellies of the poor cannot wait. He is in his first few weeks in his post and already the livelihood of many Filipinos are drastically falling down,” Doringo said. (RTS, RVO)