Water consumers and anti-water privatization advocates led by the Freedom from Debt Coalition warned Pres. Aquino and Sec. Cesar Purisima of the Department of Finance (DoF) not to process the P82.44 billion compensation claim that water companies are demanding from the government on the basis of sovereign guarantees issued in connection with the privatization.

“The demand for almost P83 billion to cover the water companies projected losses is outrageous and unjust and should be rejected. Why should we pay money out of the national coffers to ensure the profits of wealthy corporations when we don’t even have enough for basic social services?” Samuel Gamboa, FDC Secretary General asked.

Following the resolution of their separate arbitration cases stemming from a 2013 rate-setting dispute, Maynilad had demanded P3.44 billion while Manila Water asked for P79 billion in compensation to recover losses arising from the arbitration controversy.

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by James Matthew Miraflor

The script, which was used every SONA, is the most effective one. Blame former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to distance oneself from the evils of her government. Tell everyone how bad things were, as if the gravity of the darkness then would absolve all his failings. No one believes it anymore, if anyone believed it then. Our answer is the same as his: GMA is worse than Aquino? “Eh di wow.”

Relative vs. Absolute

Aquino’s economic team seems deeply confused about absolute versus relative values. Of course everything will be bigger: dividends, revenues, budgets, etc. Population is growing, and so are markets. So we have to compare Aquino’s performance not on absolute terms relative to the growth of the economy. For instance, Aquino’s current revenue effort of 15.1% still fell short of Arroyo’s peak at 16.49%. With its current trend of deceleration, the Department of Finance (DoF) may be hard-pressed to reach the administration’s target of 16.5% in 2016. Despite aggressive tax policies of Kim Henares lauded by the President, tax revenues fell short of target in 2014 (short by 159.78 billion) and 2013 (72.2 billion).

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Upang maningil sa mga pangakong napako ng administrasyong Aquino, libu-libong rallyista ang muling susugod ngayon sa huling State of the Nation Address (SONA) ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino sa House of Representatives sa Batasan, lungsod ng Quezon.

“Hindi tayo bulag. Batid natin ang katotohanan. Bistado na ng marami ang mapanlinlang na pangakong pag-unlad sa pamamagitan ng Tuwid na Daan. Maka-elitista, neoliberal at tanging mga mayayaman ang nakinabang sa ipinagyayabang na pag-usad ng ekonomiya,” pahayag ng Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC).

Ang maling patakaran at sistemang ito, ayon sa grupo, ang dahilan kung bakit kahit na bilyun-bilyong piso ang ginasta sa programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino o Conditional Cash Transfer ay patuloy at lumalala ang kahirapan at di-pagkakapantay ng kalagayan ng mga mamamayan.

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Bistado na ng mga kababaihan ang Gobyernong Aquino!

Hindi na mapagkakaila ang tahasang paggamit nito sa kababaihan bilang “panapal” sa loob ng  kanyang programang pang-ekonomiya. Itinuring ang kababaihan bilang pang-ekonomikong kasangkapan (o economic asset) sa isang neoliberal na adyendang nagsisilbi sa interes lamang ng mga higanteng negosyo at elitistang paghahari. Ito ay isang kalakaran na nagpatibay sa pribatisasyon, deregulasyon at liberalisasyon na lalo pang nagpabigat sa pasanin ng kababaihan. Higit nitong nilubog ang mga kababaihan sa kahirapan at pinalala pa ng husto ang dati nang bulnerableng kalagayan nito.

Ang kababaihan ay pagod na sa mga kasinungalingan ng gobyernong ito! Nabuking na nito ang huwad na mga patakarang pangkababaihan na nakabalangkas sa mapanlinlang na “Tuwid ng Daan”!

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by Prof. Eduardo C. Tadem, PhD 

On July 18, 2015, the country’s major news outlets reported on the findings of the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the magazine Economist that “despite the faster economic growth enjoyed (by the Philippine economy) during the past few years, the poverty rate will still be high as the gap between the poor and the rich widens.” The EIU also predicted that by 2019, “the Philippines will remain one of Southeast Asia’s poorest economies, with a lower level of GDP per head than the majority of the region’s other major economies.” These findings stand in stark contrast with the Philippines annual growth rate from 2010 to 2014 of 6.3 percent which “was the highest five-year average during the past 40 years.”

Inequality accompanies poverty and an Asian Institute of Management depiction of the Philippine social pyramid shows that only 0.1 percent of Filipino families or 21,700 families constitutes the upper class with per capita incomes of over P700,000 per year. The rest, or 99.9 percent (18.7 million families) constitutes the middle and lower classes of society. Among member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN), the Philippines was reported to have the highest inequality ratio as of 2011 based on the Gini coefficient index. A World Bank report further noted that the “richest 20 percent of the population outspent the poorest 20 percent by more than eight times.” The combined net worth of the 50 richest Filipinos was US$74 billion in 2014, a staggering 26 percent (one-fourth) of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

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