Public school teachers recently caroled senators to call for pay hike, higher education budget, and the junking of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law. The House was then on the third day of plenary on the 2019 national budget.
Teacher carolers with Santa hats and musical instruments sang popular Christmas carols with modified lyrics to highlight their situation and demands.
Teachers from the Alliance of Concerned teachers said their need for economic relief gets more urgent by the day, especially with Malacañang’s recent retraction of its earlier commitment to suspend the implementation of another P2 per liter fuel excise tax in January 2019, as provided by the Train law.
Malacañang withdrew earlier the declared suspension of the 2nd tranche of the fuel excise tax hike reportedly due to the “slow down” of the November inflation to 6 percent from the 2-month 6.7 percent peak. The government also said that non-implementation of fuel tax hikes will have effects on the implementation of the Build, Build, Build program and will negatively impact the budget for personnel services of the national government agencies.
The Duterte administration uses the government employees as scapegoat to raise funds for the questionable infrastructure projects. We have nothing to do and nothing to gain from the tax collected through the Train law. The law clearly states that 70 percent of the collection will go to Build, Build, Build.
We asked the senators to repeal the Train law that not only did not deliver on its promise to bring relief to the majority of Filipinos but also shortchanged us.
The economy, as felt by us, the people, has spiraled down at an alarming rate this 2018, which stands in contrary to the government’s claim that the increase in this year’s inflation signifies economic growth and subsequently proves the administration’s economic policies as effective.
The net expense of families has not decreased despite claims of lower food prices in November.
We felt no respite from high prices as while vegetable prices have gone down, prices of rice and fish have not changed. Worse, prices of canned goods have spiked as producers claim the products available in the market today were produced during the months when oil prices were at its peak.
We denounce the government’s priorities for funding in 2019 as it is all for Duterte and nothing for the people. Government’s proposed budget saw heavy allocations for infrastructure projects that do not bring any significant improvement to people’s well-being, as well as for anti-people and self-serving agenda such as the war on illegal drugs, federalism, and militarization.
We urge the senators to represent the people’s demands during their deliberation. Increase our salaries and allocate higher budget for education and other social services.
We also call for an additional P3,000 in the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (Pera) to curtail the effects of the steep increase in the prices of goods and services.--Alliance