Presidential hopefuls in 2010 dared: Reveal platforms vs. crisis

Presidential hopefuls in 2010 dared: Reveal platforms vs. crisis

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday urged all candidates in the 2010 presidential elections to reveal their respective platforms of government regarding how their respective presidency will address the current financial and economic crisis.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asked leading Vice-President Noli de Castro and senators Manuel Villar, Panfilo Lacson, Mar Roxas, Francis Escudero, Richard Gordon and Loren Legarda and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay what they have in mind to resolve the economic turmoil and left-and-right jobs losses hitting all over the country.

“We want to know exactly their respective platforms in dealing with the present crisis. What their presidency would do on the rising reserve of army of labor in the country brought about by the present lame duck presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” he said.

“Something concrete and tactical, something urgent but meaningful reforms and something long-term which are beneficial to the jobless and economically depressed public should be presented ahead of the 2010 presidential polls,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Yesterday, Pamalakaya warned Malacañang a scenario of an across-the-nation general strike similar to that was launched by France’s 1.9 million-strong workers is not a remote possibility in the country, given the extreme degree of crisis confronting the country’s 37 million labor force.

The fearless forecast was based on the early assessment of Labor secretary Marianito Roque that the government maybe looking at 200,000 jobless workers in six months if companies continue to shed jobs at present rate.

“The presidential hopefuls in the 2010 presidential derby are hereby required by the voting population and the 90 million Filipino public to present their platform of governance for them to be convinced that this presidential wannabe deserves to replace the incorrigible occupant in Malacañang,” Pamalakaya said.

The militant group noted that up to now, no presidential candidates have yet to announce his or her platform of government to the people. Pamalakaya said, although the May 2009 presidential elections is still 15 months away, it is appropriate, morally and politically upright for any presidential wannabe in 2010 to discuss his plans for the country once he or she gets elected to the presidency.

Records of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) show that 18,641 workers lost their jobs as of last week and that 33, 548 were working on reduced hours since companies in economic zones felt the brunt of the global economic crisis and financial crunch late last 2008.

Pamalakaya said it wants to know the stand of all presidential candidates on their proposals to cushion the impact of the financial and economic crunch that include a stop to mass lay off, and retrenchment of private and public sector workers, non-payment of debt if not moratorium on debt servicing, scrapping of Expanded Value Added Tax and lowering of water and electricity rates and basic services.

Pamalakaya also want to know the stand of all presidentiables on the controversial House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), which the group said is a social justice legislative agenda that aims to ensure genuine land reform and free land distribution to rev up agricultural production in the countryside that will absorb jobless and job-lacking Filipinos all over the country.

The group said if passed into law said, GARB will lead the national economy to absorb job losses in the National Capital Region and other urban centers, including displaced overseas Filipino workers abroad.

“Free land distribution with guaranteed strong subsidy and support mechanism is the most effective and far-reaching economic measure that would shield the country from the devastating impact and global menace of economic and financial meltdown across the globe,” it said.

For the fisheries sector, Pamalakaya is demanding a P 32-billion production subsidy to enable the not less than 1 million small fisherfolk and fish workers to continue production and cushion the impact of the worldwide economic and financial crisis.

The group suggested a minimum P 4,500 oil subsidy for all small fishermen operating small fishing boats and P 2,000 for non-motorized small fishing boat owners across-the-country.

The P 4,500 monthly subsidy constitutes about 50 percent of the monthly expenses spent by marginalized fishermen owning a small fishing boat in their daily fish capture. Hicap said the proposed measure if approved will benefit 313,985 small fishing boat operators and will cost the government a monthly production subsidy of P 1.4 billion per month or P 16 billion per year.

As for the P 2,000 production subsidy to non-motorized boats, the proposed production subsidy measure will benefit more than 600,000 small fishermen all over the country. #

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