Fishers grilled 10 kilos of tuna to “celebrate” GMA’s last Sona

Fishers grilled 10 kilos of tuna to “celebrate” GMA’s last Sona

Fisherfolk activists identified with the left-leaning fishermen alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday grilled five pieces of low class tuna to “celebrate” what it called the last State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“This will be GMA’s last Sona and that news calls for an across-the-nation celebration because it is the end of the road for Ms Arroyo, the female version of Adolf Hitler and the country’s former dictator Ferdinand Marcos,” the group said.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap led the activists in grilling the tuna weighing 10 kilos or an average of 2 kilos per piece. The “ihaw-ihaw” session was staged at Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City to drumbeat that Arroyo’s 9th Sona will be her swan song to political demise.

“Next year we will expect a newly elected president to deliver his or her first State of the Nation Address. After the 2010 polls, we will see GMA facing over a thousand counts of criminal and administrative charges against her and members of her criminal gangland for stealing people’s money and for the serial murder of political activists and critics,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said the “grilling demonstration” was also in protest of Charter Change and the mode which Malacañang wants it to carry out, referring to the Constituent Assembly being pushed by pro-Arroyo congressmen with or without the Senate.

“The Chacha train of Ms Arroyo is still very much in the race because it is still powered by public funds bastardly and brazenly squandered by Malacañang and their paid hooligans in the House of Representatives,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya did not discount the possibility that anytime beginning Sona next week, House Speaker Prospero Nograles will call the convening of Senate and the House of Representatives into a unicameral legislative body with or without Senate.

“It is not a remote possibility because it is in the gameplan of Ms Arroyo whose main political ambition in life is to perpetuate herself to power and escape accountability for a lifetime,” the group said.

Meanwhile, using the study of independent think tank Ibon Foundation, Pamalakaya said President Arroyo failed to fulfill her promises to the people, especially in fighting and eliminating poverty and in creating new jobs for millions of jobless Filipinos.

Pamalakaya said contrary to the reported millions of jobs created in the agriculture sector every year, the Arroyo government only created an average of 258,200 agricultural jobs per year or from 10.25 million agricultural jobs in 2000 to 12.32 million agricultural jobs in 2008. The group said these jobs are only good for six months and failed to raise the level of productivity and purchasing capacity of the agricultural people.

The group also noted that the price of rice per kilo swelled to 68 percent. Before Ms Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001, the price of regular milled rice was P 17.59 and the well milled rice was P 19.45 per kilo, but the prices went up to P 29.38 and P 32.71 per kilo respectively last year.

Pamalakaya said the number of poor Filipinos increased by 2.1 million from 2000 to 2006 or from 25.5 million Filipinos in 2000 to 27.6 million Filipinos in 2006. The group said while the number of poor Filipinos is increasing day by day, the net income of Philippines’ top 1,000 corporations swelled by 490 percent between 2001 and 2007, from P 116 billion in net income in 2001 to P 686 billion in 2007.

The militant group said the price of diesel rose 220 percent between 2001 and 2008 from P 13.96 per liter to P 44.31 in 2008, and gasoline by 180 percent from P 16.58 per liter in 2001 to P 45.92 per liter in 2008.

Pamalakaya also said Filipino taxpayers have been overtaxed by the Macapagal-Arroyo government by P 5,059 in taxes over the last three years from 2006 to 2008. This is equivalent to P 287 billion in overpaid taxes since the imposition of EVAT in Nov. 2005.

The militant group also said the Macapagal-Arroyo government has accumulated P 20.9 billion in total kickbacks from various shady deals entered into by Malacañang including but not limited to the P 728-million fertilizer fund scam in 2004, and 15 other cases of high crimes of corruption. #

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