Saturday, May 28, 2011

Labor group blames Philippine leader for worsening unemployment

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 28, 2011) – Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno has blamed Filipino leader Benigno Aquino III for the worsening unemployment in the Philippines.

It cited a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations that showed an increase in the number of the unemployed in just four months. KMU said the latest survey highlighted Aquino’s lack of a comprehensive employment policy.

The latest SWS survey revealed that unemployment rose to 27.2 percent (11.3 million) in March this year from 23.5 percent (9.9 million) in November 2010.

“We condemn this President who just sits on the job and enjoys riding his Porsche, playing the PSP, collecting guns and dating women while millions of Filipinos are losing jobs and add to the already huge ranks of hungry stomachs. He is living the rich bachelor’s life while allowing big foreign and local capitalists attack employment opportunities in the country,” Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

“This President not only refused to implement a significant wage hike to give immediate relief to the Filipino workers and people amidst skyrocketing prices, he is proving unable to provide decent employment to Filipinos. All he has, judging from his government policies, are employment opportunities in the government’s infrastructure programs,” Soluta added.

He said the Aquino government systematically attacks workers’ job security and trade-union rights by promoting ‘contractual jobs’ to satisfy big foreign and local capitalists’ greed for huge profits.

“If President Aquino continues to play deaf towards workers’ and people’s calls for stable and decent employment, while conniving with big foreign and local capitalists in exploiting the people, the Filipino workers and people will sooner or later call for his removal from his present job,” Soluta said.

But Manila said it has programs that address poverty situation in the country and as a matter of fact, with the entry into force of the $ 434-million (P20 billion) Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant, the government’s thrust of reducing poverty through economic growth will now take off, specifically in some 103 municipalities nationwide.

United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas congratulated his government would continue to support the Aquino administration in its fight against corruption and poverty as it looks forward to the continued transparent implementation of the MCC compact grant that will benefit millions of poor Filipinos.

”This grant is a testament of the U.S. government’s support for the Philippine government and its reform agenda,” he said.

The 103 municipalities will be picked from 300 towns in 26 provinces that will be included in the selection process, a U.S. Embassy statement said.
“The 103 new beneficiary municipalities, to be determined by drawing of lots, will receive grants from MCC to implement their anti-poverty projects,” the statement added.

Eligible towns “have been grouped in clusters that will attend one-day conferences in these provincial capitals: Kalibo, Guimaras, Dumaguete, Tacloban, Calapan, Naga, Masbate, Puerto Princesa, Bangued, Pagadian, Surigao, and Davao.”

The Compact is intended to fund three projects, namely: The revenue administration reform, which aims to raise tax revenues and reduce tax evasion and corruption through reforms at the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the modernization of the revenue collection system with approximately $54.4 million funding.

The $214.4-million secondary national roads development, which aims to reduce transportation costs and improve access to markets and social services through the rehabilitation of a 220-kilometer road segment on Samar island; and the $120-million Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, which aims to improve social services for the poor and strengthen the capacity of local communities to lift themselves out of poverty.

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