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Joma asks Isko: ‘What are your plans for the poor vendors?’

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison asked Manila Mayor Isko Moreno his plans for the poor vendors of Manila who many fears are being swept aside in the ongoing campaign to clear the capital city’s streets of obstruction.

In a video message shown at the end of Moreno’s speech before the Rotary Club of Manila at the New World Hotel in Makati City last Wednesday, Sison asked if Moreno is looking after the poor vendors.

“I have only a simple concrete question: No doubt that it is highly commendable that you have cleared the major streets of Manila of the graft-laden anarchy of vendors. But are there provisions for the poor vendors to peddle their goods in some permissible areas or to have alternative means of livelihood?” Sison asked.

Moreno gamely replied to the question, addressing Sison as “Manong Jo,” an honorific used by both government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace negotiators.

“What we did was to clear the backbone of the city. Then ang tinatanong po ni Manong Jo, saan natin inilagay ang mga naapektuhan ng pag-aayos? Sila yung inilagay natin sa mga…side street,” Moreno said.

“That is why, when you go to Quiapo, when you pass by Carriedo, open ang Plaza Miranda. You can see Hidalgo and Villalobos, naroroon ang mga mahihirap natin na nagtitinda,” the mayor said.

“So sa inyo ang Carriedo, ang Plaza, sa gilid naman ang mga vendor,” he added.

Before winning in last May’s election, Moreno served as an NDFP peace consultant for the urban poor in its peace negotiations with the Duterte government in 2016 and 2017.

In 2018, Moreno was appointed by President Duterte as Department of Social Welfare and Development assistant secretary.

Screen-grabbed from Isko Moreno’s FB page.

In his video message, Sison recalled it was him who introduced Moreno and Rotary Club of Manila president Jackie Rodriguez in The Netherlands at the time of the fourth round of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines-NDFP peace negotiations in 2017.

Rodriguez is a prominent businessperson from Davao City.

“I wish that they would help each other to bring changes for the benefit of the people of Manila,” Sison said. Sison also recalled another connection between himself, Moreno and Rodriguez in the late showbusiness icon German Moreno who groomed the young actor into stardom early in his acting career.

“I wish to share with ‘Ka Isko’ the fact that German Moreno, or Kuya Germs, his adopted father, was a classmate of Jackie and myself in Letran,” Sison said.

Sison also congratulated Moreno in his “resounding success” in becoming Manila mayor.

“In so short a time, he has done so much to impress the people of Manila and the entire Philippines with his determination and effectiveness in serving the people,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Slow TRAIN cash transfers highlight govt’s insensitivity–IBON

“The poor will get relief about three months into suffering TRAIN-induced price increases with millions of others only getting it much later.”

 Research group IBON said that the slow implementation of the Duterte administration’s social mitigation measures including its cash subsidies highlights how these are just an afterthought to cover up how the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion’s (TRAIN) program is anti-poor and pro-rich. TRAIN was railroaded last year to already be able to raise revenues starting January 2018 even if the supposed mitigation measures were not yet clear.

This is in reaction to the Department of Finance (DOF) announcement about the looming implementation of the government’s unconditional cash transfer (UCT) to supposedly help the 10 million poorest Filipino families cope with the impact of TRAIN. The DOF said that the 4.4 million existing Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries and three (3) million indigent senior citizens will start receiving the Php200 per month cash subsidy in March. The balance of 2.6 million households are supposed to start receiving theirs in August.

IBON executive director Sonny Africa noted that the DOF was last year quick to undertake the staff work for raising taxes on the poor and giving income tax relief to the rich. Yet, in contrast, it was grossly unprepared to implement any of the supposed social mitigation measures even nearly two months into the law’s effectivity. As it is, the poor will get relief about three months into suffering TRAIN-induced price increases with millions of others only getting it much later in August or after eight months.

Africa also said that the DOF was merely scrambling to report 10 million helped “no matter how sloppy the figures.” “The numbers don’t even add up,” he said, “because many of the 3.3 million poor elderly will likely already be among the 4.4 million CCT beneficiary households so double-counting is already happening, more so two or more elderly are in these poor households.”

Meanwhile, TRAIN’s promised fuel subsidies for public utility vehicles (PUVs), fare discounts for the poor and other social mitigation measures still remain unrealized, said Africa.

Lastly, Africa said, it is worth repeating that the cash subsidies are temporary and only from 2018 to 2020. “These are also the three years when oil taxes keep rising and prices keep getting pushed up higher and higher,” Africa noted. “The real TRAIN shock happens in 2021 when the UCT gimmick is gone but the prices that the poor pay for their basic goods and services will be immensely higher,” he said. (IBON News / February 27, 2018)

CA postpones Taguiwalo’s confirmation hearing anew

Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) secretary Judy Taguiwalo’s confirmation hearing with the Commission on Appointments (CA) at the Senate this afternoon has been postponed according to her Facebook social media account.

Speaking to dozens of disappointed supporters who trooped to Pasay City, Taguiwalo said she was informed by the CA that the hearing is postponed because Health secretary Paulyn Ubials hearing is not yet finished.

“This is the third time we came here. The first time was postponed. Then we finally had a hearing last week. Today should have been our third. But as of 12 noon, we were informed of the cancellation,” Taguiwalo explained.

Taguiwalo told her supporters that while she would continue to render service even as a private citizen, she said her confirmation is important as the DSWD has resources meant for the poor.

“We really want the government’s resources to go to those who need them most,” she said.

She admitted that her CA confirmation is an uphill battle but she perseveres because of the widespread support she is getting from various marginalized sectors.

Taguiwalo’s 10 months in office have been marked with positive feedbacks on DSWD’s prompt response to calamities such as strong typhoons and earthquakes that hit various parts of the country.

She also received public support for the reforms she instituted at the DSWD such as Memorandum Order 9 that reminded DSWD employees that so-called guarantee letters from congressmen is not a requisite in the identification of beneficiaries.

MC9 also ordered the entire agency to act on requests from intended beneficiaries even without a letter from lawmakers.

Taguiwalo said the long wait she is being made to suffer is a form of torture.

“Pass or fail, I can deal with that.  But I don’t think it is acceptable that the hearings keep getting postponed,” she said.

She nonetheless assured her supporters she will continue doing her work.

Meanwhile, Taguiwalo’s former colleagues at the University of the Philippines again urged the CA to immediately confirm Taguiwalo, saying she embodies the change President Rodrigo Duterte promised the people.

“If there is a government agency that shows genuine change from the corrupt governments of the past, it is the DSWD with Judy Taguiwalo as secretary,” Congress of Teachers and Educations for Nationalism and Democracy’s Sarah Raymund said.

Taguiwalo said she will wait for notification for the date of her next confirmation hearing. # (Report and photo by Raymund B. Villanueva)

Taguiwalo admits ‘tolerating’ Kadamay members, poor citizens

FOLLOWING accusations the Department of Social Welfare and Development is “tolerating” Kadamay members who occupied vacant housing units in Bulacan province by giving them assistance, Secretary Judy Taguiwalo called a press conference last Friday.

Taguiwalo tried presenting and discussing other DSWD programs but majority of journalists present were focused on the agency’s distribution of food packs in Pandi, Bulacan last week and on accusations the agency is giving special treatment to the “occupiers.”

Taguiwalo said all of DSWD’s programs are for the poor.  She said the agency is always ready to give help to those who ask, especially the poor.
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IBON SURVEY: MORE FILIPINOS UNSATISFIED WITH PRES. AQUINO’S PERFORMANCE

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The latest survey of IBON shows that more Filipinos are not satisfied with Pres. Aquino’s performance of his duties as chief executive.

The share of respondents who said they did not find the President’s performance satisfactory rose from 43.7% in January to 48.9% in May.

Asked what they can say about Pres. Aquino’s performance, 30.9% of 1,496 respondents answered ‘satisfactory’, a decrease from 37.3% in January. Meanwhile, 20.1% answered ‘don’t know’.

The latest survey round was conducted from May 13 to 23 across various sectors nationwide and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. The latest survey was a non-commissioned survey that used multi-stage probability sampling.

Below is the tabulation of Filipino’s perception of Pres. Aquino’s performance.

What can you say about Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s performance these past three (3) months?

January 2015 May 2015
Satisfactory 37.3 30.9
Unsatisfactory 43.7 48.9
Don’t know 18.4 20.1
No answer 0.6 0.1
Total 100.0 100.0

(For more IBON Survey please visit www.ibon.org)

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.