For the second time, President Aquino rejected proposals for personal income tax cuts on the basis of anxiety over the implication of a resulting P30 billion forgone revenues while completely ignoring the urgency of an updated indexation of fixed-income earners’ salaries to prices. For the Freedom from Debt Coalition, this is another clear display of Aquino’s fiscal double standard as it reveals this administration’s twisted practice of collecting more from the poor while incentivizing the rich.

Multiple burdens already weigh down ordinary workers who, amid oppressions of contractualization and casualization, struggle for daily survival on their measly wages. Indisputably, not living but “libing” (interment) wage as labor groups call it as it can barely ensure sustenance and is lightyears away from providing for a life of dignity.

These ordinary workers are now even denied of their rightful claim to whatever little enjoyment such wages can afford as they are saddled with an unjust income tax scheme that was determined 18 years ago. In 2014, the peso’s purchasing power was already at 43.8 percent or less than half of what it was in 1998, when the current personal income tax brackets were first implemented. Now, low-income earners can hardly pay even for basic goods and services while still subjected to paying the same taxes pegged at a time when the cost of living was lower than the present.

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Ngayong araw, tayong mga kamag-anak, kaibigan, mahal sa buhay at mga nakaligtas sa pananalanta ng Yolanda – ay muling nagtitipon-tipon sa Araw ng Undas, halos dalawang taon mula ng hagupit ng Yolanda. Ngayong araw ng Undas, hindi lamang tayo nagtitipon upang gunitain at ipagdasal ang mga nasawi noong Yolanda. Nilulunsad natin ngayon ang pagluluksa at panawagan ng hustisya – ang Luksang Bayan upang patuloy na isigaw , hindi lamang hustisya para sa mga Biktima ng Yolanda, kundi para na rin sa Bayan!

Ang trahedya ng Yolanda, ay repleksyon ng historikal at panlipunang trahedya ng ating bayan – ang laganap na kahirapan, inekwalidad at katiwalian na pinamumunuan ng gobyernong manhid at walang pakialam sa kapakanan ng mamamayan, ng gobyernong trapo at elitista –- ng gobyerno ng iilan. Ang gobyernong Aquino na niluklok sa pwesto sa islogan ng “Tuwid na Daan” at nagsasabing ang mamayan ang tunay na “Boss” nito -- ay siyang gobyernong inutil, makupad at walang malasakit sa kapakanan ng taumbayan.

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We come from the ranks of the workers, the farmers, the street vendors. We are joined by teachers, nurses, the youth, the marginalized women and men of our country who are fed up with the way our country is being run. We come as people who dream of a future unlike what we have at present, a future vastly different from that conjured up by the hodge-podge of political parties and the parade of politicians that make up the national electoral circus.

We are here today to demand genuine change in the way our country is being run. We call for an end to the old elite-dominated politics which has consigned our people to poverty and subservience to foreign governments and private corporations. We have come to lend our support not to any one party or candidate, but to the unifying alternative vision for Philippine politics and governance which refuses to concede the future of the country to yet another set of trapos.

We have seen what continued dominance of the elite and the trapos in our political and economic life which is in stark display under the Aquino administration, does to our country. Despite persistent attempts to convince the nation that it has benefitted from his time in office, we know that Aquino’s term has not pushed the country forward, it has in more ways than one, set us back.

The never-ending hype about rapid economic growth under Aquino’s term camouflages the widening inequality and festering poverty that are the true hallmarks of his elite-dominated, neo-liberal presidency.

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QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), a broad coalition of peoples movements, political blocs and NGOs, called on the Aquino administration to do more than its proposed Intended Nationally Determined Commitments (INDCs). As the Chairperson of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the Philippines must be at the forefront in demanding global targets from developed countries, and not just voluntary INDCs.

The Philippine government just submitted its INDC to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) with the intent to undertake GHG (CO2e) carbon emissions reduction of about 70% by 2030 relative to its BAU scenario of 2000-2030. Reduction of CO2e emissions will come from energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors. The mitigation contribution is conditioned on the extent of financial resources, including technology development & transfer, and capacity building, that will be made available to the Philippines.

Likewise, in signifying to unconditionally cut down 10% of its carbon emmissions but with pledges of 70% conditional mitigation efforts, PNoy should guarantee that the climate finance it is asking for in return for its commitments will not be misused.

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Alab Katipunan, which is a member of Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and People’s Forum on APEC (PFA) 2015 and of which the Bukluran ng Progresibong Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (BPMP) is an affiliate member, strongly denounce the general condition of state repression in the name of corporations and agri-business which attended the hosting of several preparatory meetings of the Asia-Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Iloilo City on September 23-October 6, 2015.

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Such condition of state repression takes the form of virtual police and military control of Iloilo City which prevents concerned groups from exercising their fundamental freedom of expression and of assembly by denying the issuance of rally permits, putting up police checkpoints and barricades around the suburbs and downtown Iloilo City, and provoking violent dispersals of peaceful rallies. In denying the issuance of rally permit, the fundamental freedom of expression and of assembly are in effect banned, as “no permit, no rally” has been officially declared by the Local Government.

The violent dispersal that provoked the clash between members of BPMP, Alab-Katipunan, FDC and PFA2015 on October 4, 2015 from Sambag, Jaro and at the vicinity of Jaro Plaza on the occasion of the holding of the High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy is but an outcome of this policy.

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