KMU to Abad: Too much public money for officials liable for poverty

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LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno responded today to Budget Sec. Butch Abad’s defense of huge salaries received by Cabinet officials last year, saying there’s too much public money being spent by government officials responsible for the country’s poverty.

KMU said Abad’s assertion that Cabinet officials’ salaries revealed by a Commission on Audit report include agency- or work- related expenses requiring liquidation, is beside the point.

“The point is that government officials who are responsible for poverty among workers and our people are receiving huge amounts of public money. They are spending a lot of public funds while failing to alleviate poverty,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“These people are responsible for the meager wages of workers and incomes of poor people. Why did they receive a million or millions each in salary?” Labog said.

“Abad should not compare Cabinet officials’ salaries with those being received by CEOs of private companies or by officials of GOCCs. Cabinet officials are supposed to be in the government to serve, not to spend enormous sums of people’s money,” he added.

Among government officials who received millions or a million in salary in 2011 are: Alberto del Rosario (P2.936 million); Proceso Alcala (P2 million); Rogelio Singson (P2.216 million); Enrique Ona (P2.18 million); Corazon Soliman (P1,837,487.91); Florencio Abad (P1,772,104.78); Ricky Carandang (P1,668,118.12); Joel Rocamora (P1,589,926.56); Cayetano Paderanga Jr. (P1,580,121.96).

“It is most ironic that most Cabinet officials who received millions or a million in salary last year are implementors of the government’s so-called anti-poverty program. They have failed to alleviate poverty among workers and the people but have clearly moved further away from poverty,” Labog said.

The labor center said the P424 minimum wage in Metro Manila, the highest in the country, when multiplied to 314 days, amounts to a mere P133,136 per worker a year – a far cry from the more than P1 million that many Cabinet officials got last year.

“While the Aquino government is implementing a Cheap Labor Policy for the country’s workers, it seems to be implementing a ‘get richer’ quick policy for its top officials. While workers’ wages barely meet their families’ basic needs, it seems that government officials’ every move is being subsidized by the taxes of the poor,” he said.

“Pres. Aquino has the gall to reject a P125 across-the-board wage hike that workers have been clamoring for while sky is the limit for high government officials. And these salaries are on top of whatever earnings they amass out of corruption and other dubious transactions,” he added.

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