Gov’t sell-out of social services to cause higher prices, deeper poverty – Youth group

YOUTH group Anakbayan Monday assailed the Aquino government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, saying the “sell-out” of social services will mean higher prices of utilities and commodities, and will cause deeper poverty for majority of the people.

“It will mean guaranteed profits for people of the same class as the president, while it will deny social services to a greater number of Filipinos. PPP means ‘patong-patong na pahirap’ (greater burden) and ‘pagtataksil ng pamahalaan sa publiko’ (government treachery against the public),” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.

The Aquino government recently announced its plans to privatize major social service infrastructures LRT1 and MRT3. Also, it is putting up for grabs the construction contracts of three new tollways: one connecting the SLEX (Southern Luzon Expressway) and NLEX (Northern Luzon Expressway), an extension of the SLEX, and an extension of the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) expressway.

Previously, the government approved a fare increase in mass rail transit services to which is linked to plans to privatize the rail system, while expressway toll fare hikes were approved in lieu of the government’s framework of ‘guaranteeing’ the profits of private investors in such public projects.

Privatization a failure

“Why is the government pursuing a flawed policy? Previous privatization efforts have clearly been perilous to public welfare and interest. Utility rates for instance have soared due to lopsided guarantees and privatization schemes,” said Crisostomo.

Crisostomo said privatization is to blame for the rise in power rates because payment for the costs of unused electricity, which the government guaranteed to private investors are being passed on to consumers. He also noted the rise in water rates by 449 to 845 percent since MWSS was privatized in 1997.

“Fare and commodity prices will surely rise due to higher costs of transport. By privatizing mass transit and tollways, the government is committing treachery. Public transportation is government responsibility,” says Crisostomo.

Crisostomo also called the PPP policy a “continuation of the sins of the past administrations,” and “a clear sign that no substantial change can be expected under Aquino.”

“The Aquino administration is essentially continuing the failed ‘globalization’ policies of the Arroyo and the past administrations. Behind the yellow mask is an anti-poor and pro-capitalist monster, which the Filipino people must fight,” he said.


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