Published: July 24, 2012
“As expected, the president refused to reveal the real state of the nation.”
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s reaction to Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s third State of the Nation Address, saying the president used half-truths and omitted important facts in order to project economic growth.
“The president first invoked so-called indicators of economic development that are distant from the realities of workers and poor people. When he got into indicators that are close to situation of the people, he used half-truths, committed major omissions, and even refused to comment on the situation of Filipino workers,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“There is not even a mention of the words ‘manggagawa’ or ‘obrero’ in the president’s speech in Filipino. This has been a continuing habit of the president in his SONA’s,” he added.
The labor center pointed out five half-truths in the president’s speech:
|The government was able to generate 3.1 million jobs in two years.||Majority of the jobs being created are part-time and are of poor quality.|
|Expanding the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program’s coverage.||This is an indication of growing poverty, not the reduction of poverty.|
|Expanding the coverage of PhilHealth.||This goes hand-in-hand with the phase-out of charity wards in government hospitals.|
|Increasing budget for education.||This is due to the mandated increase in teachers’ salary and a meager increase in Capital Outlay, which used to be zero.|
|CARP will be completed.||Given CARP’s numerous loopholes, this won’t mean farmers will own a piece of land. Main indicator of the government’s seriousness is the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling on Hacienda Luisita.|
“What these half-truths show is that there’s no real progress for ordinary Filipinos. Some of the things that the president bragged about even point to the worsening condition of the Filipino workers and people,” Labog said.
“The president is focusing too much on creating jobs and is ignoring the situation of those who actually have jobs. Wages and benefits remain meager, contractual employment is the norm, and the exercise of trade-union rights is thwarted,” Labog said.
“In truth, the government aims to generate jobs precisely by keeping wages and benefits meager, promoting contractual employment, and violating workers’ rights,” he added.