State workers, urban poor picket vs fare hike

GOVERNMENT employees, workers and urban poor residents  under the banner of the Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan (KPMM) staged Tuesday  noontime protest action  at the LRT Quirino Station (Northbound) to reiterate their opposition to the impending LRT/MRT fare hike and the rising prices of oil, water rates and toll fees.

League of LGU employees (LEAGUE) President and KPMM coordinator Erwin Lanuza slammed the ongoing increases in the prices of basic commodities and services saying “ The government has the gall to be proud of the 7.3% growth in the Gross Domestic Product in 2010, citing it as a big achievement of the Aquino regime. However for ordinary workers and employees, these numbers bear no importance because they do not translate to the improvement of actual conditions of the Filipino workers and people.

Despite the government’s boasts, many Filipinos continue to survive on the brink of destitution, especially in light of the unabated rise in the prices of basic commodities. Fare, water rates and oil hikes are set to be implemented, while toll fees have already increased. The GDP growth means nothing to us because our capacity to buy anything is almost nil” he said.

Meanwhile, COURAGE National President Ferdinand Gaite underscored the link between the impending fare hikes and the government’s thrust towards  privatization.

“The revenue generated from the fare hikes will be directed towards the settlement of debts to private investors and lending corporations, rather than the maintenance and operations of the MRT and the LRT. The crux of the matter is the government’s policy to prioritize debt servicing and military expenditures in the budget rather than social services and the government officials’ running the government corporations as if these were their private businesses. As taxpayers, we demand that our taxes be utilized in funding basic social services benefitting the majority of the Filipino people, not to fund onerous contracts which will only benefit the business interests of a few influential people.” Gaite added.

Members  of the KPMM Alliance are also set to hold decentralized protest actions at different locations today, 4-6pm and tomorrow at 9am. They are also set to participate in the February 24 mobilization commemorating the 25th anniversary of People Power I.


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