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Consolidating Consensus, Advancing People’s Struggles and Building Alternatives
19 September 2016
MANILA, Philippines – Doves seemed to flock in Malacañang today as members of activist group Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) carried their demands for debt audit and repeal of automatic debt servicing imprinted on images of the bird symbolizing peace and freedom.
“Freedom from illegitimate debts! We march today to bring our petition to President Duterte. We call on him to include in his priority legislative agenda the repeal of the automatic appropriations law embodied in Presidential Decree 1177 and the immediate comprehensive audit of all public debts,” said FDC Secretary-General Sammy Gamboa.
12 September 2016
MANILA, Philippines – While the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) welcomes the Duterte administration’s move to reform the country’s outdated 19-year old tax scheme, it cautions against the regressive effects that the five tax policy packages as they could penalize ordinary wage-earning citizens.
“We urge Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to reveal to the public the details of the tax reform packages he presented to Congress so we would know how these measures will impact the lives of millions of Filipinos to whom every centavo counts in their daily struggle to make ends meet,” FDC Secretary-General Sammy Gamboa said in a news release Sunday.
Gamboa expressed concern that the reforms would be based on trade-offs and compromises with corporate interests rather than principles of equity, fairness and justice.
05 September 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration’s proposed 2017 national budget has allocated P6.13 billion in foreign debt service for 13 fraudulent, wasteful or useless loans, the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) bared in a recent news release.
“For all of the hoopla about having a ‘Budget for Real Change’, billions of public funds remain to be captured and wasted on questionable loans incurred since the time of the late dictator Marcos. FDC has initially identified 13 questionable loans, but more are likely to be uncovered if Congress initiates an official comprehensive audit of all public debts,” FDC Secretary General Sammy Gamboa said.
FDC defines illegitimate debts as debts arising from loan-funded programs or projects that violated principles of human rights and sustainable human development, justice and fairness, accountability and responsibility, sovereignty of peoples and nations, and democracy. Projects funded by the 13 loans involved construction of farm-to-market roads, flood control, irrigation, power sector reforms, and elementary education, among others. Many of the loans came from the Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World Bank.
01 September 2016
MANILA, Philippines – While recognizing the need to ensure that the national budget prioritizes social development particularly the people’s welfare, the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) yesterday criticized the Duterte administration for using this as a convenient excuse to justify the P80-million allocation for pet projects of each legislator.
“The proposed 2017 national budget, with its provision for lawmakers to identify projects for budgetary funding, reeks of traditional or ‘trapo’ politics that perpetuate patronage relations between public officials and their constituents,” FDC Vice-President James Matthew Miraflor said.
Miraflor pointed out that the Supreme Court decision on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the distinct and separate roles of the Executive and Legislative branches in the budget process are clear and should not be undermined by mere technicalities.
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