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July 9, 2008

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Drivers are grumbling due to weekly oil price hikes implemented by oil companies reaching more than P60.00/liter of gasoline and more than 50.00/liter of diesel. Peasants cannot afford the rice that they produce, hitting P50.00/kilo in some parts of Mindanao. Water and electricity rates, health and tuition fees have also gone-up.

Inflation rate in June reached 11.4%, the highest in 14 years. The price of rice jumped 43% while food in general increased by 17.4%.

Ordinary Filipinos try to survive by skipping meals, replacing rice with bread and giving-up health and education for more urgent needs. However, these adjustments do not solve the problem, majority of the people now still suffer from hunger.

The government is offering band-aid solutions aimed at pacifying the people. They were not implemented to resolve the deepening economic problem but to foster a false sense of stability for her crumbling presidency - to avert another uprising that will further weaken her regime.

If she is serious in helping the poor, why is she not scrapping the oil deregulation law and the Value Added Tax (VAT)? These policies directly burden the people in as much as skyrocketing prices and rates of services are concerned. Scrapping them shall mean immediate economic relief for all Filipinos, especially the poor. Even the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines is now calling for a review in Oil Deregulation Law and VAT.

Poverty is widespread due to the anti-people policies of imperialist globalization. It is also deepening due to the blatant corruption, where people's hard-earned money is used for personal and political favors, where funds for services and development programs are pocketed by plunderers with impunity.

The fertilizer fund was used for GMA's campaign. First Gentleman Mike Arroyo rigged the NBN-ZTE. Cyber-education is questionable like the NBN. The Jose Pidal, Poll Automation, Macapagal Boulevard, IMPSA Power Contract….. and the list goes on.

The survey of Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) has shown that the Philippines is the most corrupt economy among 13 countries and territories across Asia. PERC deems that the Philippines is perceived in the worst light this year and that the people are too tired of promises aimed at curbing corruption.

It is an irony, that we live in a society where the poor bear the brunt of hunger and poverty while corrupt government officials escape with impunity and ignore the people's cry for economic relief. It is condemnable that GMA, as the highest government official is not heeding the people's call to junk the anti-people globalization policies - privatization, liberalization, deregulation and denationalization. It is condemnable that GMA continues to escape accountability on the piles of cases of corruption thrown against her and her allies.

Majority of the people now are in a very dire condition. However, apathy and distress are not the attitude in times of social despair. We are feeling the physical hunger but we also have to feel the hunger for change. GMA failed to provide opportunities for Filipinos to have a decent life and she miserably failed to portray good governance. Social injustices have even intensified under her administration. She must be held accountable!

As hunger becomes widespread so is the call for GMA's ouster#


Tongtongan Ti Umili

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