[Statement] Duterte, just like his predecessors, has only used the SONA to promote himself, preserve the status quo and advance the interests of the economic elite -BMP

Photo extracted from Sonny Melencio FB

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) explained that Philippine society is divided into ‘two nations’. On one hand, a nation of rent-seeking property-owners and another nation of paupers who are forced to sell their labor-power and have always been at the losing end of state policies.

“Year in, year out the toiling masses have yearned for presidents to institute pro-people policies to lift them from dire poverty. The present abject misery of the poor is enough proof that all past SONAs have failed them and all presidents up to this present regime have neglected them,” BMP president Luke Espiritu said.

“Duterte, just like his predecessors, has only used the SONA to promote himself, preserve the status quo and advance the interests of the economic elite with programs that liberalize the economy, deregulate industries, privatize social services and cheapen labor, leaving the poor grappling with poverty and social injustice,” he added
He reasoned that “what Duterte and his economic managers consider as accomplishments are actually dilemmas for the toiling masses. What they call a vibrant economy is actually belt-tightening measures on the part of millions of working class families”.

To prove its point, BMP illustrated that the recently released 68-page report the administration presented as part of its achievements two days before the SONA is in fact a collection of disservices of the Duterte administration to the poor majority.

BMP noted that in the report the 14.76 percent, or P106.5 billion increase in revenue collection in the past five months is better than the same period in 2017, indicating that this successful tax collection was due to the TRAIN Law.

The group maintains that the amount was primarily collected from the low-income families as both oligarchs and white collared employees were awarded with tax reductions and exemptions under the 6-month old tax regime.

Also cited as accomplishment was the P195.7 billion worth of investment approvals from January to April 2018 by the Board of Investments. BMP claims that these investments will not only produce limited job openings but will also raise negligible revenues due to the multiple tax concessions offered by the government to lure multinational companies.

“The report is a perfect picture of how policies differ in impacts between the affluent minority and the destitue majority. Both multinational companies and this authoritarian regime feed off the surplus value created by laborers, fattening themselves with profits and taxes at our expense”.

“There’s no denying anymore that TRAIN triggered the cost of basic commodities to increase sharply and that it gave rise to the 5.2% inflation rate as the latest survey SWS revealed that 48 percent of the respondents viewed themselves as poor in the second quarter of 2018,” Espiritu asserted.

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