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News :: Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor : Politics
Filipino Workers urged: Vote for truth, full employment
02 May 2007
Thousands of workers from the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and the Confederation of Independent Unions (CIU) gathered in MetroManila, Lipa, Cebu, Davao City, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro City,Zamboanga City and Cotabato City to commemorate the 104th International Labor Day, urging other workers to support candidateswho would vow to unearth the truth behind the 'Hello Garci' controversy.
Under the Theme "Manggagawa, Mag-AKBAYAN laban kay Gloria", APL andCIU enjoined the Filipino working class to use the transformativepower of their votes to use the May 14 polls as a referendum against the Arroyo administration.

The workers also declared their support for AKBAYAN. APL and CIU command at least 120, 000 workers in the private, public, formal and informal sectors. "Re-electing AKBAYAN, which has consistently championed the rights ofworkers and other marginalized sectors, would held break the backbone of patronage politics in the country. Its 9-year track record in advancing and defending workers' rights and welfare proves its commitment to give voice to workers in Congress," APL Chairperson Danny Edralin said.

CIU Chairperson Mercedita Naldoza, meanwhile, stressed that a vote for AKBAYAN is a vote for full employment. "Inside and outside Congress, AKBAYAN has pushed for full employment. Its agenda is rooted in the aspirations of mass movements and it has championed decent work and meaningful wages for workers. Its employment platform presents a concrete alternative versus the administration's neoliberal and market-oriented labor policies," Naldoza said.

AKBAYAN vowed to maintain its independent and oppositionist stance in Congress. The party is confident an anti-GMA sentiment would prevail on election day. "The people's collective will against rampant corruption, cheating, killings and bad governance would certainly punish the truth-challenged government of Mrs. Arroyo, her electoral riggers and recycled politicians," AKBAYAN Representative and First Nominee Risa Hontiveros said.

She is also confident that despite the entrance of administration fronts in the party-list race, AKBAYAN will prevail. "No amount of election cheating and bullying from the camp of Mrs. Arroyo will deny AKBAYAN and the people of victory. Despite the continuing harassment and persecution we are encountering from the hands of the military and even from the armed Left, we are confident of the public's support for AKBAYAN's progressive brand of politics. Clearly, the tide is turning in favor of meaningful change, in favor of democratic left parties like AKBAYAN," Rep. Hontiveros said.

Meanwhile, University of the Philippines Professor and AKBAYAN second nominee Walden Bello challenged the Filipino workers and the electorate to be vigilant against the proliferation of fake party-list groups allegedly being ran by Malacanang. "We must stop the rabid bastardization of the party-list system being committed by Mrs. Arroyo's political pimps and paid hacks," Bello said.

"We must not only expose these administration-backed party-lists for what they are but essentially boycott them. Instead, let us vote for full employment. Let us vote for decent wages. Let us vote for the progressive transformation of our economy where the imperatives of the market are not used to undermine the dignity of labor. Let us therefore guarantee once again the success of AKBAYAN party-list," Bello stressed.

The nominees of AKBAYAN for the coming 2007 elections are Risa Hontiveros, currently one of AKBAYAN's representative in the 13th House of Representatives and a well-known peace and women advocate; UP Professor Walden Bello, an internationally renowned and respected author, academic, and political analyst; and Gico Dayanghirang, a legitimate son of Mindanao, committed to issues of agrarian reform and rural development.

Thousand of workers from different federations and unions under the leadership of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) pledged their support for and commitment to AKBAYAN Party-list. They marched from Welcome Rotonda to Morayta, where they finished their program.

AKBAYAN Solon warns workers of Arroyo’s tax exemption promise

AKBAYAN Rep. Risa Hontiveros warned workers today not to believe President GMA’s promise that the administration would legislate tax exemptions for minimum wage earners if the administration wins in the forthcoming polls. In fact, AKBAYAN Rep. Hontiveros said, the administration blocked the passage of a bill that would have given minimum wage earners tax exemptions.

“It is an outright lie. It’s as if the paucity of her so-called non-wage benefits is not enough, she still has to lie about it,” Rep. Hontiveros said.

The solon pointed out that she authored a bill that would have granted tax exemptions for minimum wage earners. H.B. 4865 (substituted with HB 5296), which was filed immediately after the imposition of the Expanded Value-Added Tax, seeks to amend the Internal Revenue Code to increase tax exemptions for wage-earners to increase non-taxable income to 50, 000 annually, with corollary increases in tax exemptions for different wage brackets. A family with an annual income of 200, 000, for instance, will only pay P22, 600 in taxes instead of P37, 500 in the current tax schedule.

According to the solon, the bill was already approved on Third and Final Reading last year and a similar measure was approved by the Senate. However, the administration-dominated House Committee on Ways and Means refused to hold a bi-cameral conference to enact the bill.

“It is an empty promise. The administration could have pushed for the approval of the bill if it were sincere with its non-wage benefits for workers,” Rep. Hontiveros said.

Tuesday, 01 May 2007
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