Tag Archives: Poverty

[People] Overcoming poverty -by Fr. Shay Cullen

There is extreme poverty in the world, 1% of rich people have more money and wealth than the combined wealth of 4.6 billion people who have almost nothing. Worldwide there are about 735 million people in extreme poverty. In the Philippine, there are an estimated 6 million people in extreme poverty. Why is there so much inequality in the world?

Can the power of goodness bring social justice and overcome the devastating harm done by powerful greedy, selfish people? They must be challenged, opposed and resisted by those dedicated and committed to doing well. Humanity develops when there is sharing, cooperation, justice, freedom, and equality among people. When these values pervade daily life, they bring peace, harmony, and well-being. The people have to change peacefully the political and economic forces that allow them such a life.

Each of us can help our neighbors and find ways to open the cage of poverty and let them fly free. Everyone needs a job and a just wage to support their family. The following is a true story, one that is repeated many times over.

Lusito was a boy from a hungry homeless family. They lived in poverty under sacks at the edge of a beach. His father was a simple fisherman but when international fishing companies were given commercial fishing permits in Philippine waters by corrupt officials, the fish disappeared. Thousands of Filipinos were thrown into the pit of poverty. Lusito then 15, the eldest, collected, junk, plastic bottles, anything he could sell for a few handfuls of rice. That’s all they had it wasn’t enough. Sickness took his father.

One day Luisito, who was emaciated with hunger, was seen by the owner of a basket weaving shop and invited to learn basket weaving. He was a person of conscience and he saw, judged the right thing to do and did it. Lusito was amazed when he was paid, in advance, a generous trainee’s allowance. Immediately he bought rice and fish for the family, the first that they had in weeks. He was totally determined to succeed and joined several workers in the small factory. Quickly he became a skilled worker and was paid a higher just wage and given shelter in the workshop. The cage was open.

Lusito saw a way to overcome poverty. He went to evening classes and graduated high school and with the help of the basket shop owner, he eventually graduated from college and found a managerial job. He saved his family and his own children. They became college graduates and they have good jobs today. That was and is the exception rather than the common reality.

That was thirty years ago. The Philippine population is now 110 million and while poverty has lessened, there are 23.1 million Filipinos going hungry every day down from 28.8, the figure in 2016 according to the World Bank survey. That is still 23 million to many. Yet many more millions of Filipinos while not grievously hungry are still living in poverty.

The world has moved on to new economic challenges and new skills and education are needed help to make a just economy where the youth of today will find good pay in high-tech jobs with dignity and equality. The nation needs to produce more high values products in a sustainable way that protects the environment and heals the damaged planet. To help bring this about Pope Francis will launch a new initiative the “Economy of Francis” at a world meeting of economists and business people with a conscience. It is to be held in Assisi, in Italy, March this year 2020.

Global action is urgently needed. Millions of people around the world demand change and refuse to be submissive and docile or live in fear of the rich. They now protest inequality, low wages, poverty, unemployment, environmental destruction. They raise their voices in rallies, marches, and demonstrations or quietly advocate and create public awareness of social injustice. Equality will have to come by the action of just governments that will tax the rich and compel them by law to pay higher wages and the government must provide social development, health, housing and employment with just wages. The government is supposed to be the service of the people, for the people, by the people to overcome poverty.

It is the rich that control the congress, they rule by family dynasty and will very seldom legislate against their own interests and only under intense public pressure. What is to be done to overcome poverty? One is to defeat and remove the corrupt officials. Politicians promise to do this in order to get elected and have power, but most are corrupt themselves. As the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported in January 2020: “The Philippines slipped 14 notches from its previous ranking in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a rating of global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has shown. In the group’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2019, the Philippines scored 34 to land in the 113th spot – a decline of 14 places from its previous rank at 99 in 2018.

Despite that vexing and painful truth, there has been a change to the good. There are millions of children and youth getting a better education nowadays thanks to many Filipino people of compassion, with a social conscience, who don’t tolerate injustice and poverty and lobby and pressure government officials to act justly. It is a slow and frustrating incremental progress.

The restless youth and workers can’t wait they are demanding jobs and higher wages and benefits, a life free from hunger and want. The rich oppose this, they grow rich from low wages, restrictive labor laws, and short-term contract workers and exploitation and plundering the natural resources and paying low or no taxes. The labor movement is frozen.

Educated workers are frustrated and migrate with their brainpower, skills, and knowledge. The Philippines can lower the rate of poverty if the government will invest in advanced technology training and encourage business to create higher-value employment and make high-value products. This will give more spending power to the people. That in turn, spurs greater economic growth. Breaking the cycle of poverty will only happen when many more millions develop a conscience, have compassion and give equal opportunities to the poor by sharing their wealth. Together we can help the poor to rise out of poverty and open the door of the cage so they can fly free.

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[From the web] One in five people in Philippines lives in extreme poverty -Aljazeera

About one in five of the Philippines’s 106 million people lives in extreme poverty, getting by on less than $2 a day. Many, including children, work long hours as street vendors or labourers to make enough to feed themselves. Hunger occurs the most in the agriculture and fishing sectors where 70 percent of workers are poor.

Al Jazeera’s Jamila Alindogan met some of those struggling to earn a living and feed themselves in the capital Manila.

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[In the news] ‘Romanticizing’ poverty? Miss Universe Catriona Gray’s winning answer draws mixed reactions -PhilStar.com

‘Romanticizing’ poverty? Miss Universe Catriona Gray’s winning answer draws mixed reactions

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ Catriona Gray made her country proud when she bagged the Miss Universe crown but her winning answer did not sit well with some.

At the finale of a fierce competition Monday in the Thai capital Bangkok, Gray, 24, edged out 93 other candidates with her signature “lava walk,” Mayon Volcano-inspired red-hot gown and her grace under pressure during the question and answer portion.

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[Video] #AyawNaminSaKarahasan #KarapatanHindiKahirapan -TFDP

Hindi lahat ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao ay palaging madugo… Ang kahirapan ay karahasan din ng pamahalaang dapat nag-lilingkod sa mamamayan. #AyawNaminSaKarahasan #KarapatanHindiKahirapan

http://bit.ly/2o5AJau

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[From the web] Dispatches: The Philippine Picture of Badjao Displacement By Carlos H. Conde

Dispatches: The Philippine Picture of Badjao Displacement
By Carlos H. Conde

Carlos_Conde_web  2013 Byba Sepitkova Human Rights WatchThe striking image of a Filipino girl – a member of the indigenous Badjao tribe – begging in the streets of Lucban, a town in Quezon province south of Manila, has gone viral in the Philippines and prompted a flood of public concern and support for her and her impoverished family. A photographer spotted the child, later identified as 13-year-old Rita Gaviola from Zamboanga City on the southern island of Mindanao. Tweets and Facebook posts and media coverage celebrated the girl’s beauty and her dream to become a teacher.

Those reports don’t mention that there are thousands of other residents of Zamboanga City, including many Badjao, who were displaced and forced into destitution following the armed confrontation between government forces and rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front in September 2013. That violence killed nearly 200 people, displaced more than 100,000 residents, and destroyed thousands of homes. The city’s ethnic minorities, including the Badjao, were particularly vulnerable to displacement and forced relocation following the fighting. The authorities, with little or no genuine consultation, forcibly moved the Badjao inland from their homes along the coast, despite their traditional occupation as fishermen. To this day, thousands of Badjao and other residents, mostly Muslims, remain homeless, living in dire conditions in evacuation sites.

The Badjao, like many of the Philippines’ indigenous peoples, are a neglected tribe. Commonly referred to as “sea gypsies” because they live and fish in coastal areas, the Badjao live in extreme poverty – often beyond the reach of state assistance due to their nomadic existence. The result is that many of them join the ranks of beggars in the Philippines’ urban centers or dive for coins thrown by boat passengers.

The public concern for Rita Gaviola is an opportunity for the new Philippine government to strengthen efforts to ensure the rights of livelihood, housing and health to the Badjao and other indigenous peoples who, too often, are denied those rights in the face of discrimination, conflict or displacement. The government should start by providing adequate resettlement based on consultation for the Badjao and the thousands of others who remain in squalid evacuation centers in Zamboanga City. The government should also help ensure the livelihood of the Badjao by relocating them to areas that allow access to the seashore so that they can work as fishermen. Perhaps then Rita Gaviola – and the thousands of Badjao like her – can finally stop begging and return home.

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[Press Release] Student-Leaders challenge Aquino, Duterte to address ‘neglected’ IP issues in country -SPARK

YOUTH GROUPS: HYPE WON’T SOLVE BADJAO GIRL’S PROBLEMS
Student-Leaders challenge Aquino, Duterte to address ‘neglected’ IP issues in country

SPARK KabataanYouth groups expressed concern over the growing hype surrounding rising internet sensations from marginalized sectors in society, particularly Rita Gabiola, popularly known as ‘BadjaoGirl.’

Viral photos of Gabiola, taken while she was begging for alms in the streets of Lucena City, have propelled the young girl to be propelled into popularity. Since then, several personalities and institutions have rushed to shower her and her family with donations and other forms of aid.

SamahanngProgresibongKabataan (SPARK), a national organization of students which engages issues of exploitation and massive inequality in the country, noted several factors which are downplayed by the hype surrounding Gabiola’s rise to popularity.

“Members of the Badjao community, like many other indigenous groups in the country currently face issues of displacement, exploitation and alienation from their very own cultural heritage because of the growing inequalities, violence in their ancestral lands and the destruction of their native environment and livelihood,” said SPARK National Coordinator Arvin Buenaagua.

“As of 2015, data has placed the population of the Badjao community at 26, 400 scattered across Eastern Visayas, Northern Samar, San Bernardino Strait, Capul Island, San Isidro Island and Manila. While they are traditionally a seafaring tribe, some Badjao families have settled in impoverished coastal sections of highly-urbanized areas due to poverty and displacement,” Buenaagua said. “This leaves open the possibility of members of the tribe, especially children and women, to be subject to exploitation and harassment, not to mention the detachment of younger generations to their well-established traditions and culture,” he added.

“The surrounding hype implies that most people only notice IPs when they are ‘photoshoot-material’ and thus, ‘sellable,’” said Alex Castro of NagkakaisangIskolar Para SaPamantasan at Sambayanan (KAISA UP).

Castro, currently studying Law in the University of the Philippines Diliman, stressed that the ‘romanticizing’ the plight of Gabiola and her family will do very little difference to the quality of life experienced by indigenous tribes. “Since the passage of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act in 1997, no successful attempt has been initiated to address the issue of poverty and exploitation among these nomadic tribes. Not to mention the disenfranchisement of these groups in policies addressing armed violence and environmental destruction in rural and coastal areas of the country,” she elaborated.

Castro noted that while civil society and individual citizens’ efforts to help the family of Gabiola are admirable, the Philippine government must recognize the societal realities that put Gabiola’s family into such dismal conditions. Castro also noted the fact that education in all levels remain inaccessible to most IPs, with its high cost and discriminatory policies.

“Gabiola’s desire for a quality education is reflective of the desire espoused by all citizens, especially those who see it as a tool for social mobility and self-realization,” said Castro. “We cannot simply address this issue by giving out token scholarships, but by providing free education for all citizens, regardless of where they came from and which group they belong to,” she concluded.

Duterte and PNoy urged to integrate IP issues in development policies
Castro and Buenaagua urged the incumbent Aquino government in its last few weeks. and the incoming Duterte administration to take drastic and immediate action to uplift and secure the lives and livelihoods.

“President-elect  Rodrigo Duterte, as the first President to hail from Mindanao, must be very familiar with the poverty and violence IPs have to face daily and therefore should prioritize the integration of their issues in the country’s policies on development and peace,” said Buenaagua. “This entails a departure from the neoliberal policies espoused by the Aquino PDP, which President-Elect Duterte also professed to adopt, putting business interests ahead of the urgent demands of the people and resulting to massive displacement, loss of livelihood and the concentration of wealth to a privileged few.”

References:
Arvin Buenaagua, SPARK National Coordinator – 0915 352 3951
Ale Castro, KAISA Spokesperson – 0906 404 5023
Email Address: spark.diliman@gmail.com
Facebook: facebook.com/SparkKabataan
Website: progresibongkabataan.weebly.com

 

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[Statement] The women’s march against poverty is a march for human dignity -World March of Women-Pilipinas

STATEMENT
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY
World March of Women-Pilipinas

 

Our march against poverty is a march for human dignity. It is our right to live a life where choices are not clipped by the meagreness of resources available for us, our future not chained to injustices that deprive us the means to live, our roles not imposed by an economic system that value profit over rights.

World March of Women logo

Poverty is the outcome of systemic abuse brought upon us by greed – corporations excavating mountains, exploiting the lands, uprooting trees, cementing coasts, keeping wages at their lowest, profiting from social services, and at the cost of poisoned communities, displaced farmers and fishers, enslaved workers, prostituted women and children. Greed finds good company in guns and the militarization it represents to ensure that the corporations and elites are protected. Guns come with goons and the patriarchal set-up it represents to keep women silent and subservient to this system.

But we, women, can never be silenced. The World March of Women-Pilipinas refuses to be clipped, chained, and devalued by this system of greed, guns, and goons. Women know the enemies and we shall hold them accountable for bringing more than half of our country into poverty. We seek justice for the poorest families earning barely a tenth of what the richest families earned. We demand response to the declining employment of women, with one-third of employed women working as unskilled workers, mostly in wholesale and retail trade, agriculture and manufacturing, or forced to leave their homeland. Women work in conditions that are highly informal and vulnerable, with tenuous contracts, low pay or earnings, and little social protection. Landless peasant families earn 148 pesos on the average in foreign-owned agricultural plantations, with women farmworkers earning 15 peso less. All these unjust conditions push women to work as migrants, where often we are treated just the same, with little protection and dignity.[1]

Women know the enemies intend to blind us, passing as laws like the Mining Act but operating like thieves in broad daylight. No gold can blind us to see that mining does not give jobs, does not contribute to the economy, and can never be responsible enough to safeguard the environment and the community. For the past years, mining contributed to less than 2% to the GDP, employing less than 0.4% of labor force. Mining violates half of our protected areas and two-thirds of the ancestral domains of our indigenous communities across the country. Poverty rates are evidently high in host-communities of mining, with their leaders and rights defenders being terrorized and killed by hired militias. These private armed groups often have the blessing of the state and political clans, in the name of protecting investments. The state should be held responsible for the human rights violations committed by the militias in the mining communities. The political clans and their dynasties should be dumped this coming elections, along with the weight of the rocks and soil that can never be made fertile again due to mining.
Women shall claim back the lands and waters grabbed by these corporations and we shall cultivate and nurture them to address food security instead of profit. Mining and other forms of resource extraction is just one category in land grabs, there are countless others disguising as development interventions. National and local elites have capitalized on programs like ecotourism, industrial agriculture and biofuels, residential and commercial use, to pass off land grabs as legitimate act. Even disaster-affected areas are not spared. Fishing communities were forced to leave coastal areas declared as no build zones due to anticipated effects of disaster, only to find out later that these were being sold to corporations for resorts and commercial use. Meantime, the farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples who dare fight for their lands and territories are treated as law offenders. Their acts criminalized, their rights taken for granted.

On this International Day of Eradication of Poverty, the World March of Women-Pilipinas calls on the eradication of corporate mining, land grabbing, the prostitution of women and children, labor rights violations, and state terrorism as drivers of poverty. The women’s march against poverty is a march for human dignity. Our dignity lies in securing the rights of peoples to land, water, and territories as sources of their subsistence for the present and future generations. Our dignity lies in equal opportunities for men and women to participate in and benefit from development that does not exploit the environment nor oppress communities. It is with dignity that we shall overcome poverty on our own terms.

October 17, 2015

World March of Women-Pilipinas • Alyansa Tigil Mina • Bagong Kamalayan Collective, Inc. •
Buklod ng Kababaihan sa Olongapo • Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) •
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) • Focus on the Global South •
Freedom from Debt Coalition • KAISA KA • Katutubong Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) • WomanHealth Philippines • Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB) •
Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan • PhilWomen on the ASEAN • Sarilaya •
Sentro ng Nakakaisang Manggagawa (SENTRO) • SENTRO Youth • Transform Asia • True Colors Coalition •
Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE)
[1] Beijing +20 NGO report on Women and the Economy

[From the web] Widespread precariousness and deepened poverty for workers -CTUHR

Widespread precariousness and deepened poverty for workers
(First part of a three-part series of Trade Union and Human Rights Situation 2014 )

Extracted from CTUHR

Extracted from CTUHR

Aquino’s much-hyped economic growth proved to be meaningless and abstract for the country’s poor majority. Jobs created in 2014 were predominantly precarious and low paying. The regionalized wage system dragged down real wages by as much as 21 percent. Privatization of public utilities not only added burden to the poor with increased rates and prices but also siphoned public funds to the pockets of big corporations in the form of state guaranteed profits. After almost five years, the gap between the rich and poor ever widened as the country’s richest amass bigger profits while the huge majority of Filipinos are left in deepened poverty.

CTUHR logo

Creating precarious and low paying jobs

Official employment statistics showed slight improvement in employment situation in the year 2014 as the government reported 1 million jobs generated thus decreasing the number of unemployed by 42,000 lowering the unemployment rate to 6.8 percent in 2014 from 7.2 percent in 2013 (BLES, 2015). Estimates of independent research groups however show a significantly higher unemployment rates. According to Ibon Foundation (2015), unemployment rate is 10.2 percent equivalent to at least 4.1 million workers. Most recent SWS survey, on the other hand, reveals a much higher estimate of 27 percent unemployment rate totaling to 12 million Filipinos (SWS, Feb 2015).

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[Press Release] Labor group says Aquino’s policies deepen not combat poverty -CTUHR

Labor group says Aquino’s policies deepen not combat poverty

“Aquino’s policies like privatization of public utilities do not fight poverty but deepen it.”

CTUHR logo

This was labor and human rights group, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights reaction to a recent statement issued by Pres. Aquino saying that in line with Pope Francis’ calls, the government is already doing its job to combat poverty through the conditional cash transfer program.

The group said that Aquino seemed to have missed if not ignored Pope Francis’ message about striking inequalities, poverty and corruption which the Pontiff consistently emphasized during his 4-day visit to the Philippines.

“His Holiness did not speak of the past, but the present government when He said that ‘we need to transform social structures that perpetuate poverty.’ Yet, instead of recognizing this, Aquino took pride in combating poverty through the CCT program that is seeing an increase in budget even if it failed to make a dent in reducing the number of poor,” Daisy Arago, CTUHR executive director said

The group then slammed the Aquino government’s privatization of public utilities and services as highlighted by the water rate hike and MRT-LRT fare hikes just as everyone was preparing for the Papal visit.

“The government gives alms to the poor through CCT but cut their means to survive independently. Aquino’s privatization policies and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program not only violate the people’s right to basic services and utilities, they dispossess them and buried them deeper into poverty. The recent fare hikes in MRT and LRT for instance, take the income of millions of working poor who depend on it for cheap transportation and millions more families will be forced to limit their water use as rate increases,” Arago explained.

LRT and MRT fares increased by 50 to 87 percent which means 400 to 900-peso addition to the monthly expenses of each worker who use the train to go to and from work. Similarly, water bills will increase monthly household expenses with the recent approval of Maynilad’s rate hike proposal.

The group said that while the working poor are made to bear these fare and rate hikes, big companies are left unscathed and are guaranteed more profits.

According to Bayan Muna, the MRT earned P2.2 billion in ticket sales and only spent P1.8 billion in operation expenses last year. LRT earned 2.5 billion but only spent 1.03 billion for operation expenses. The government is also reported to have allocated over P11 billion pesos for the maintenance, rehabilitation and subsidies of the train lines this 2015 that will mostly go to private operators.

The fare increase for MRT and LRT, according to the government, is not for railway system’s repair and rehabilitation but will go to private companies who operate the train lines as part of their guaranteed returns.

Moreover, private companies that distribute water in the Metro have seen increased profits. According to Ibon Foundation, Maynilad grew by 48 percent yearly 2007 to 2012 and Manila Water, by more than 15 percent in the same period.

“Throughout his term, Aquino has been pushing for policies that benefit only the rich by passing the burden to the poor majority. Perhaps, the challenge to fight poverty as posed by Pope Francis is not for the government to hear, but a call to the Filipino people to speak out, to reclaim our collective rights to basic services that are being taken away by big companies and a government that treat the poor not just unfairly, but a variable in the game of power and money,” Arago said.

For reference: Daisy Arago, Executive Director, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, +63 916 248 4876 or +632 411 0256, pie.ctuhr@gmail.com

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[From the web] Children CAGED to keep the streets clean for the Pope: Police round up orphans and chain them in filth during pontiff’s visit to Philippines -MAILONLINE

Children CAGED to keep the streets clean for the Pope: Police round up orphans and chain them in filth during pontiff’s visit to Philippines
By Simon Parry, MAILONLINE
January 14, 2015

MailOnline

Street children as young as five are being caged in brutal detention centres alongside adult criminals in a cynical drive to smarten up the Philippines capital ahead of a visit by Pope Francis this week.

Hundreds of boys and girls have been rounded up from doorways and roadsides by police and officials and put behind bars in recent weeks to make the poverty-racked city more presentable when Pope Francis arrives tomorrow, a MailOnline investigation has found.

In a blatant abuse of the country’s own child protection laws, the terrified children are locked up in filthy detention centres where they sleep on concrete floors and where many of them are beaten or abused by older inmates and adult prisoners and, in some cases, starved and chained to pillars.

Six million people are expected to attend an open air mass conducted by Pope Francis in Manila’s Rizal Park on Sunday, which will watched by a global TV audience and officials appear determined to ensure that urchins are hidden from view.

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[Press Release] Children from shanty towns present Noynoy their Christmas wishes – SM-Zoto/KPML

Children from shanty towns present Noynoy their Christmas wishes

AS THE Simbang Gabi heralds the commencement of the yuletide season for many Filipinos and with just eight days before Christmas Day, indigent children accompanied by their parents from the Metro’s urban poor communities belonging to anti-poverty groups Samahan ng Mamamayan-Zone One Tondo Organization (SM-ZOTO) and Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML) conveyed to President Noynoy Aquino their Christmas wishes through carols and letters.

SM Zoto KPML

They groups bewailed that their families shall be celebrating a paskong-tuyo or a poor man’s Christmas for they could not afford even a decent Noche Buena this Christmas due to their low wages and contractual work. They also claimed that they shall only have their usual fare for the traditional Christmas dinner and their children will as well subsist with hand-me-down clothes and toys.

At their young age, the carolers lamented the neck-deep poverty they are suffering because of the government’s economic policies which according to their statement to media is “not only reinforcing their wretched plight but unceasingly pushing to them to other vulnerabilities”.

“We could no longer shield our children from the harsh realities brought about by President Aquino’s rabid adherence to the reign of private corporations hoarding over basic social services. Our everyday needs are becoming more challenging as Christmas Day nears,” SM-ZOTO president, Orly Gallano revealed.

The carolers also brought with them a replica of an urban poor house to demonstrate their unchanged miserable condition despite of Aquino’s fifth Christmas as president and colorful lanterns with their demands that they hang on the gate of the President’s residence.

“This is already the fifth Christmas with Aquino at the helm but even the slightest reforms that may concretely bring about the barest changes that will uplift our condition is quickly fading from our sights,” Gallano rued.

The community leader sternly believes that there is no more hope in the horizon since by next year Aquino and his cohorts in the Senate and Batasan Pambansa will be busy politicking and gaining media mileage instead of addressing the most pressing issues affecting the majority of Filipinos.

For Anthony Barnedo spokesperson of the socialist Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod, “the recent granting of emergency powers to Aquino is but a manifestation and arrogantly display of his fidelity to the business interests of powerful elite clans that control the power industry, countering all his previous and pretentious declarations”.

He likewise averred that Aquino’s undeniable bias for the elite is more than enough for the people to rise up and force him and his corrupt cabal of traditional politicians out of office.

“Christmas is only for the wealthy and landed classes in this rotten society. The poor will have nothing to share but its misery and scarcity,” Barnedo concluded.

The groups say that the most tormenting and directly affecting their children are the scourge of contractualization and low wages, the unabated dictates of corporations in deregulated industries such as power, telecoms, oil and water as well as the demise of public social services in favor of commercialized health and education sectors.

Joint Press Release
16 December 2014

Contact person:
Orly Gallano 0918-4085175
Samahan ng Mamamayan-Zone One Tondo Organization (SM-ZOTO)

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[From the web] Poverty reflects a failure of the government not the person by Danilo Reyes

Asian Human Rights Commission

HONG KONG/PHILIPPINES: Poverty reflects a failure of the government not the person
by Danilo Reyes

(Note: this article was first published in the October 12, 2014 issue of the Sunday Examiner)

Poverty reflects a failure of the government not the person.

Seven years ago, my first cousin, 22-year –old Maricel Mahinay, died from an illness aggravated by severe malnutrition. She was three months pregnant. Her death came two years after her first child had also died from a malnutrition related illness.

Asian Human Rights Commission

Maricel, whom we called Cecil, and I lost contact in the 1990s when I moved to another city. I was working while studying at a university. I did not hear from her for many years.

My memory of her dates back to our child hood days in our sleepy and laidback hometown.

In September 2005, my mum, now a retired public school teacher, told me that Maricel’s 11-month-old son, John Paul, had died from an illness aggravated by severe malnutrition.

I was an intern at Asian Human Rights Commission at that time and was beginning to comprehend how abject poverty affects not only human societies, but ourselves – and here was my own cousin’s child dying from want of basic necessities.

When I learned about the death of Maricel’s son, I had mixed emotions. I did not know she had got married or that she had a child.

She was the daughter of my mum’s older brother who was a tricycle driver. Maricel was so poor that she had to borrow money to pay hospital bills before she could take her son’s body home and then pay for a small plot of land to bury him.

After I published the story of my cousin’s death and her circumstances, I learned that the former mayor, who is currently a lawmaker in the province of South Cotabato, Mindanao, dispatched one of his staff to locate her.

I used to interview this mayor when I worked as a journalist there. I knew that he would intervene, not because his administration had been so neglectful, but because her case tarnished the city’s image.

Reluctantly, social workers from our local government went to her house and gave her some relief goods and a health card.

When the social workers spoke to Maricel, they told her she should have approached them first. She should not have complained and exposed the death of her child in public.

These social workers might have achieved their goal, as when Maricel was dying two years after her son’s death, she did not complain.

In evaluating Maricel’s case, they concluded they could not classify her as a public services for indigent beneficiary, or the poorest of the poor, because in the Philippines, if you have a relative working in the government or overseas, your family and relatives are not considered indigent.

So for them, Maricel could not be indigent. At the time, maricel could not be indigent. At the same time, my mum was as a public school teacher and they came to know I was in Hongkong – doing an internship on a meagre allowance.

In the Philippines, the government method of assessment in identifying an indigent, who is poor and who is not or who is deserving of public services and who is not is based on the philosophy that it is the family and their relatives, and not the government that has the primary responsibility of support.

The consequence of this thinking means that any Filipino in the Philippines who has a family or relatives overseas, Hong Kong or elsewhere, cannot be considered indigent, or deserving of government assistance.

Thus, relatives of overseas Filipinos back home cannot be classified as indigent or poor.
In his column for the Sunday Examiner titled, the struggle to put food on tables, on September 14, Father Shay Cullen Notes, “More people than ever go hungry”,

He says hunger and starvation hits children the hardest. The story of my cousin, Maricel, and her son John Paul, are among those countless untold stories.

Father Cullen rightly points out that those who suffer from hunger end up severely malnourished and die quickly from hunger-related diseases.

John Paul died too young and too early because his parents had no money to buy food, let alone medicine. Like him, many other starving children go to bed every night crying for want of a meal.
The vast section of Philippine society is poor; consequently, the threshold for testing who is poor has become oddly high. But this method has only created a wrong perception that is detached from reality – that government employees and their relatives; as well as overseas workers and their relatives are not poor.

Needless to say, many of the government and overseas workers are themselves poor.

Reflecting on my cousin’s experience leads me to understand that it is highly destructive when people are made to feel that to suffer from poverty, hunger and starvation is the person’s own fault.

We should be condemning what causes this suffering, not those who suffer. To suffer abject poverty is neither a person’s own fault nor a choice.

It is a failure in the system of social government structure which takes away equal opportunity.

# # #
About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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[Resources] The Impact of Philippines’ Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Consumption By Melba V. Tutor

The Impact of Philippines’ Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Consumption
By Melba V. Tutor
University of the Philippines School of Economics;
mvtutor@up.edu.ph

Impacts of 4ps

Abstract

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program provides cash grants to poor households conditional on pre-determined investments in human capital. This study analyzed its impact on consumption using the 2011 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey. Average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) is estimated through propensity score matching methodology. Heterogeneous impacts are examined among the bottom 20% of income distribution.

The study finds that among the total sample, per capita total expenditures is not affected by the program. In per capita monthly terms, only carbohydrates and clothing significantly increased. As expenditure shares, education and clothing registered significant positive impact. No impact is observed on health spending, both in per capita terms and as a share of expenditure. The impact of Pantawid Pamilya on consumption is more pronounced among the poorest fifth of households.

Results show that households have responded to program conditionalities but there is very little room to improve consumption of other basic needs. The recent program modification of increasing education grants to older children and covering up to secondary school completion will help households sustain induced behavioral changes over time. Stronger impact on the poorest fifth of households underscores the need to improve the targeting mechanism to address leakage issues.

Read full article @ The Impact of Philippines’ Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Consumption
By Melba V. Tutor [ Impacts of 4ps by Melba Tutor ]

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[From the web] CBCP-NASSA launches ‘Year of the Poor’, ‘AK40’

CBCP-NASSA launches ‘Year of the Poor’, ‘AK40’

BUTUAN City, Agusan del Norte, Oct. 7, 2014—The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in coordination with its National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), launched on Monday, Oct. 6, the “Year of the Poor” and “Alay Kapwa 40” (AK40) at the St. Joseph Cathedral Diocesan Shrine in Butuan City.

CBCP NASSA

“The Church is constantly challenged to take the side of the poor and the oppressed, particularly in the situation where there is a continuing violation of human rights wherein justice is being denied for sectors like farmers, indigenous people, fisherfolks, labor and even the victims of calamities. So with this celebration we are called to renew this commitment,” Fr. Edwin Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA executive secretary, said in a statement.

CBCP-NASSA executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez (Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)

‘Year of the Poor’

Backed by its sister commissions, as well as the country’s 85 dioceses, NASSA, CBCP’s development arm, has been tasked to spearhead the one-year celebration of the “Year of the Poor”, which will officially open on Nov. 23, 2014, ending the “Year of the Laity”.

Inspired by Luke 22:61, which reads “Look at Jesus…And the Lord turned and looked at Peter”, this upcoming “Year of the Poor” is the third of the nine-year era of New Evangelization set to prepare the Filipino faithful for the fifth centenary of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021.

According to Gariguez, it seeks to respond to the challenge posed by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) for the Church in the country to be a “Church of the Poor”, which CBCP noted, has become “even more valid as before”.

The event also paid tribute to 40 years of Alay Kapwa, the Lenten evangelization program for the poor started in 1974, fosters love for one’s neighbors and God’s creation through “evangelization and resource mobilization of the local church” while supporting NASSA’s disaster emergency and advocacies toward social transformation and resiliency.

Read full article @www.cbcpnews.com

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[Statement] Poverty kills teachers -TDC

Poverty kills teachers

The shocking incident in Pangasinan National High School yesterday should serve as an eye opener for all of us. Two major issues of public education sector were put in highlight- violence and poverty. The shooting that resulted to the death of three people, two of them teachers and wounding of several others is the latest recorded incident of violence in schools involving teachers as victims. However, the reason behind this shooting is more appalling. According to the reports and the initial investigation, the gunman, who is a member of Pangasinan police force is collecting loans from his clients- the teachers when an altercation happen that led to the shooting spree. It is almost incomprehensible that some people kill to collect loans while others die because of debt.

TDC

With this incident, we would like to validate the public perception that teachers- or at least many of them are living in what we describe as “hand to hand” existence- worse than “hand to mouth” description. That is the literal handing of money to lenders right after they receive their salaries.

Teachers are the favorite clients of lending institutions and loan sharks because they are good payers. Teachers frequent the lending queues to make ends meet. And up to the point beyond the minimum take-home pay policy, teachers would find ways to borrow money- pawning their ATM cards of even certifying payments from anticipated bonuses to lenders. Yes, teachers are living in a borrowed income.

Thus, we call on the government to prevent the incidents of this kind in the future by providing just salaries and adequate remuneration and benefits- monetary or otherwise. Particularly, we call on President Aquino to certify Senate Bill 2146 and Senate Bill 2365 filed by young senators Sonny Angara and Bam Aquino, respectively. SB 2146 seeks to reform the tax system and collect more taxes from the rich and less from the poor while SB 2365 pushes for a P10, 000.00 additional compensation for public school teachers. These proposed measures, if enacted into law would surely augment the living of our teachers.

This government should sincerely care for the welfare of its teachers and never allow them to be killed for an unpaid loan. #

Reference: Benjo Basas, TDC Cahirperson- 09205740241

STATEMENT
September 2, 2014

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[Press Release] GCAP State of Poverty Address

GCAP State of Poverty Address

NO ONE SHOULD BE LEFT BEHIND! WALANG IWANAN! This is the cry of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty around the world. In the Philippines, poverty is still very high and it is lagging behind the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) target to eradicate poverty. WALANG IWANAN! is GCAP Philippines’ demand from the government to constantly take heed of the urgency of improving the situation of the poor and marginalised sectors of society.

jpg_GCAP

GCAP Philippines aims to spread awareness and mobilize people to take action on the situation of poverty in the country. Even if the targets of the government look good, we need to ensure that these come from the grassroots, reflecting their real situation. This is why the State of Poverty Address is a timely event not only for the SONA of PNoy, but also in time for the MDGs to end in 2015, and the processes that are happening now to finalize the new Sustainable Development Goals. We need to put the link between the different layers of actors that have a stake in the whole development sphere, putting the grassroots issues forward, and not behind.

According to Erning Ofracio of Aktib and GCAP Executive Committee Member, “despite government reports of economic increase (GDP growth), poverty remains high mainly due to high unemployment, weak investment climate, high income inequality, corrupt administration and lack of peoples participation in budget planning especially from the the local level. Real economic growth must felt by the people in the margins of society.”

The government just released in July 2014 that fishermen, farmers and children remain to be the poorest among the basic sectors. They represent 39.2%, 38.3% and 35.2% respectively, from the overall poverty incidence of 25.2% in 2012. This means that 1 out of 4 people are poor in the Philippines. The target for the government in poverty alleviation is 16.6% poverty incidence by year 2015. This is still a long shot, and the government has conceded, but still needs to prove that they are accountable.

Among the indigenous peoples farmers, the issue on Coco levy fund, after almost 40 years, is still a continuing battle. The P78B fund still needs to be distributed to the coconut farmers. The indigenous peoples farmers need to be part of the discussion in the Philippine Coconut Authority. At the same time, land security is important to be addressed, as sustainable agriculture depends on having a secure land as well. “The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and other concerned agencies need to step up and resolve these issues on ancestral domain and other tenurial instruments. Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles need to finally be awarded to the IPs”, says Julian Tena, Dumagat leader from SAGIBIN-LN of Quezon and partner of AnthroWatch, GCAP Coordinating Committee member.

Luis Granados of Kabataan Kontra Kahirapan, a GCAP Coordinating Committee member, says that “the Youth are being left behind. The abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan had only been the discussed by the “elders” in the government. There are also many youth politicians but their voices also muffled by the political parties of their relatives. What is also they youth’s role in K-12? Most employment opportunities are in call center and those that are related to servicing international clients, or encourage overseas work. The Youth are left behind still because still the genuine voices and actions need to be put out more.”

Inequality, good governance, maternal health, peace and security, protection of children, access to basic services, the environment, are also among the most pressing themes that GCAP Philippines want addressed. In PNoy’s speech on July 28, it should report beyond numbers and face-saving against criticisms of DAP, and address how to concretely accelerate poverty reduction. It should set aside arrogance, and acknowledge that there are real-life problems felt by people everyday, and that the government needs to share the urgency of working to resolve these. With this, they can encourage more people to move with them for genuine development, for justice, equality and security. This way, no one would be left behind.
—–

GCAP-Philippines is a movement composed of various grassroots and national organisations in the Philippines working towards eradicating poverty. It utilizes various strategies such as media and mobilization demanding and challenging the Philippine government to live up to its promise to the Millennium Development Goals and to protect and promote the rights of Filipinos to have a decent and dignified life. It is also currently engaged in the Post-2015 processes organising consultations and campaigns, linking with national and international networks and participating in various fora to help ensure that the Post-2015 development agenda truly address poverty and inequality.

http://www.whiteband.org

Press Release
July 24, 2014

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[Press Release] Anti-Poverty group reiterate demand of full-disclosure of DAP projects’ details, says devil is in the details -KPML

Allege Massive Cronyism in DAP-infused Projects
Anti-Poverty group reiterate demand of full-disclosure of DAP projects’ details,
says devil is in the details

AN URBAN poor group called on Palace officials to reiterate their call for the full disclosure of the details of projects infused with Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds. They specifically wanted to know which companies were awarded with contracts stimulated by DAP.

KPML

The Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML) believes that the companies which were granted projects fueled with juggled public funds are heavily-connected with President Benigno Aquino III, they allege that they are either corporations identified with close associates and relatives.

Secretary Butch Abad of the Budget Department recently released a list containing 101 projects worth P144.4 billion that were implemented between 2011 and 2013 with the supposed economic stimulus program.

“The fiscal abuse hatched by the Palace could easily translate to anomalous and highly-dubious transactions since it did not go through budget deliberations in Congress for scrutiny. If not, then why did they not go through standard operating procedure and be a fiscal dictator,” said KPML leader, Orly Gallano.

“The fleshy features of each transaction using DAP funds are what the people want to know. As the most religious taxpayers, we have the right to know where our taxes were spent, how and to whom they were awarded. The devilish side of DAP lies in the details,” he asserted.

Despite the clamor for disclosure the Palace officials have not budged despite the obvious discrepancies with the document they submitted before the Supreme Court before it was declared unconstitutional and those recently released.

Documents submitted before the high court indicated that the Palace spent more than P177 billion.

The urban poor leader alleged that, “No amount of sanitizing could hide the fact that the DAP was used for political patronage, undermining of supposed co-equal branches of government, corruption and amassing of wealth of Aquino cronies and relatives through anomalous deals”.

“The more Aquino and Abad refuse to heed the demands of the people for full disclosure and deny the people justice, will only fuel their emotions and heighten the clamor for his ouster and establishment of a political system that will genuinely serve the interest of the nation’s poor majority,” Gallano added.

The KPML together with ally Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino just recently announced that they are now calling for the ouster of Aquino and the establishment of a government of the masses and not the constitutional takeover of the Vice President.

The groups vows to mobilize thousands of its members and affiliates on July 28, Aquino’s 5th State of the Nation Address.

Press Release
19 July 2014
Contact Person:
Orly Gallano 0999 9552046
Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod

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[Press Release] On Poverty Reduction, Don’t Fool Us with Your Statistics: GCAP Tells Government

On Poverty Reduction, Don’t Fool Us with Your Statistics: Anti-Poverty Group Tells Government

“Don’t fool us with your statistics!” said the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) Philippines. This is said in reaction to the report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority that poverty incidence went down to 24.9% of the population in the first semester of 2013.

jpg_GCAP

According to GCAP Philippines, the change in the figure is due to the different metric used in measuring poverty incidence – from the usual Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) to Annual Poverty and Indicator Survey (APIS). Going by the FIES, the poverty incidence increased in 2006 and has remained high even after three years into the Aquino Administration.

“We challenge the government to come clean to the public in trying to maneuver the statistics on poverty. We believe that changing the method is highly questionable”, asserted by the GCAP. Nevertheless, no matter what method is used—APIS or FIES—the government has admitted it will not reach the 16.6 percent target of the Millennium Development Goal in poverty eradication.

Currently, the poverty threshold stands at P52 per person per day. According to the government, the poverty threshold is the amount a family or individual needs in order not be considered poor.”Having Php52 is not enough to provide decent living for one person even for a day”, narrated Joy Reyes.

GCAP Philippines is out to challenge the government to be realistic in addressing poverty reduction and avoid hiding the reality under the official poverty statistics that is making matters worse for the genuine poor. GCAP Philippines maintains that economic growth, no matter how high, is meaningless if it does not translate into improved quality of life for the average Filipino.

The government officials need to get out of their air-conditioned offices and feel the pressing issues and experienced everyday by the majority of Filipinos. The poor and marginalised still experience inaccessibility of basic services compounded by privatization of government institutions and rampant corruption.

According to GCAP-Philippines, on housing, the NHA and LGUs still prioritize resettlement designs that are only for rent and not for ownership by the urban poor people resettled. Resettlement areas also need to package basic services including sustainable livelihood options needed for decent living.

Furthermore, recent developments in the Pork Barrel case also reveals more allegations of government officials involved in the corruption case, which unfortunately include a big number of elected and appointed officials.

Amongst all these issues of corruption and privatization, etc., the poor are the most vulnerable, yet usually the most left out in the development processes.

To continue to highlight the burning issues of poverty and inequality, and to commemorate the Urban Poor Uprising held on May 1, 2001, GCAP Philippines will continue its traditional Pre-dawn March of the Poor at the foot of Mendiola Bridge. This is to express their protest and discontent at the current state of affairs of the urban poor sector. This is a symbolic commemoration of the Poor Peoples March during EDSA 3 on May 1, 2001.

The group will assemble at 4am on May 1 in San Sebastian Church. A Candle March of more than 100 urban poor delegates and their allies and sympathizers will proceed to the Chino Roces monument where a Solidarity Flower wreath will be put at the foot of the monument. This gesture is to pay tribute to those who perished during the May 1 March to Malacanang in May 1, 2001. GCAP-Philippines refers to them as ‘the nameless and faceless heroes’ of that historic event.

Contact Persons:
Egay Buenaventura of Kasama-Pilipinas at 0915-9654804 or Lucia Velarde of SRCC-MPC of North Triangle at 0930-6237670, member-organisations of GCAP Philippines.

GCAP-Philippines is a movement composed of various grassroots and national organisations in the Philippines working in the sectors of education, health, peace-building, housing and land security, agriculture, governance, participation and access to basic social services for women, youth, indigenous peoples, farmers and urban poor, among others. It utilizes various strategies such as media and mobilization demanding and challenging the Philippine government to live up to its promise to the Millennium Development Goals and to protect and promote the rights of Filipinos to have a decent and dignified life. It is also currently engaged in the Post-2015 processes organising consultations and campaigns, linking with national and international networks and participating in various fora to help ensure that the Post-2015 development agenda truly address poverty and inequality.

http://www.endpovertynow.org.ph, http://www.gcap-senca.net, http://www.whiteband.org.

Press Release
01 May 2014

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[People] The greatest hunger is for justice. By Fr. Shay Cullen

The greatest hunger is for justice
By Fr. Shay Cullen

Food, glorious food, our lives are dominated by the desire and need to eat and the agricultural industry provides food for the billions of people on the planet. However, some people eat too much food, over 1.5 billion and others have too little food, about 925 million people are malnourished and go hungry.

325-fr-shay-cullen

The people with too much food, most of it bad for the health, are dying from the surplus as they get heart failure, diabetes, cancers and many other conditions. Those with too little are dying too from the lack of nourishing food. It’s truly a matter of social justice on a local and then global scale and needs the just and fair distribution of the world’s resources and food above all.

Jesus of Nazareth, a prodigy of wisdom, advised his disciples to share whatever food they had (a few loaves and fishes) with the hungry people who had come out into the desert to hear him preach. The miracle was that the unselfish sharing of their little food inspired all the people who had food to share it with those who had none and there was enough for all.

Unselfish sharing is the way to bring greater balance into the world and the rich with compassion for the poor will have the spiritual insight and knowledge as to what is a good and right way to live and will have the spiritual will power and strength to control themselves and their appetite, greed and selfish urges. People are transformed when they forget themselves and get involved in helping change the world and help others. The real change in the world comes one person at a time, and it can then grow when others are inspired to do their share. Changing attitudes in a community by changing our way of life is teaching by example.

There is more than enough food in the world for everybody to eat well but the distribution is uneven due to corrupt governance, unfair laws and because the rich and well-fed have manipulated many a nation’s laws to benefit themselves and their luxuriant lifestyles. The poor have little chance for education, good job and food security. They don’t have a chance to provide for themselves.

Roger, a poor boy, asked me to help him get a job as a janitor in a fast food restaurant. He would be paid a minimum wage and allowed to have one meal a day. He just had to mop the floor and clean the toilets for eight hours. But to get the job, the company demanded a bunch of documents. He had to have a high school diploma, a health certificate, an x-ray, a birth certificate, 2 police clearance certificates, a letter of recommendation, a mayor’s work permit and money for a uniform.

For every document there is a fee to be paid, so the very poor, they are excluded and can’t even get a job that needs little training as a janitor, a good and noble profession, where would we be without them.

However, hundreds of thousands of youth are unemployed because of these ridiculous and expensive requirements. When he got the job, he was fired after six months so as not to have him qualify as a regular employee and get additional health benefits. That’s why hundreds of thousands go jobless and hungry.

If there is greater equality then absolute poverty will be eliminated and if there was less waste of food there would be a lowering of food prices and more people could be better fed. In the United States alone there is 40 million tons of food thrown away daily. In the UK, 15 million tons are wasted every day.

There are statistics showing that up to 30% of vegetables and fruit delivered to the UK supermarkets are rejected because they don’t reach the pristine shape and looks demanded by the managers.

In the Philippines, the left-over food from the plates of the restaurant customers are collected by the very poor and boiled and eaten. It keeps them alive. For another estimated 20 million Filipinos, a cup of cooked rice and a piece dried fish and a scrap of vegetable is all they can afford.

Even the ability of the people to feed themselves by growing their own food is being hampered by the control of the vegetable soya and corn seeds worldwide by companies making genetically modified organisms (GMO). Others have terminator seeds. These are sold with the help of corrupt Department of Agriculture personnel to farmers instead of traditional natural seeds.

The seeds are dependent on fertilizers made by the same company (Shell for example). They don’t produce seeds that will not grow again and the farmers have to go back and buy more seeds every year. Self reliance is taken away. That’s why many rural communities are in debt and poverty and some send their children to work in the cities. Many of them are trafficked into the sex trade.

What’s needed from most is a people’s power, peaceful, non-violent movement to protest and challenge the ruling elites and educate the people to elect honest representatives renowned for integrity with the best interests of the people at heart. Now that’s a real challenge. [shaycullen@preda.org; http://www.preda.org]

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[Press Release] Policymakers to blame why poor people turn to saints for jobs, healthcare -PM

Policymakers to blame why poor people turn to saints for jobs, healthcare

Policymakers are to blame why throngs of poor and sick people opt to seek deliverance from the Black Nazarene at Luneta and Quiapo Church rather than flock to hospitals for regular medical treatment, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement.

pmLogo1

The group said that besides the yearly observance of this centuries-old tradition, the devotees’ main concerns for keeping the faith revolve around their plea to relieve them from serious illness and lift them out of poverty.

“Policymakers should look at this phenomenon in a more political rather than in purely religious sense. It’s failure of polices and governance. When poor people are afraid of hospitals because of high cost, their traditional option is to look for divine and non-discriminating sponsors in the likes of the Black Nazarene and other saints,” said PM.

The group pointed out that while faith and deliverance is a personal devotion to the Creator, quality healthcare, employment and other aspects of good life are the State’s social and moral obligation to its people.

Along this line PM chided lawmakers for making noise about their constituents having problems in availing the ‘pork’ they have realigned to different agencies.

Earlier Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga complained against the lack of guidelines from government agencies on how former pork beneficiaries can have access to the services they previously enjoy.

“The problem is that lawmakers merely realigned their PDAF to line agencies without putting in place a universal system in delivering social services, creating in effect administrative gridlocks because politicized and discretionary parts of the budget remain,” said PM.

The group had pushed for the creation of a universal social protection fund in place of the pork barrel system during the height of the anti-pork barrel campaign last year, adding that the terms ‘pork scholars’ and ‘medical assistance’ should have been replaced now by ‘state scholars’ and ‘universal healthcare’.

PM explained further that the United Nations (UN) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have been pushing for ‘universalisation’ in place of the ‘targeting system’ in the provision of social services because it is administratively less costly, inclusive, and more empowering when they become legal entitlements based on people’s needs and not the ability to pay.

The group warned lawmakers not to exploit the frustrations of the masses to smuggle in a plan to reconstitute their PDAF.

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa
09 January 2014
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09178233956

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