Militant labor groups Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and Socialista held protest actions at Mendiola Monday and demanded the scrapping of the recently signed into law Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) as it commences to take effect on all petroleum products Monday.
Workers also used the occasion to call for living wages to offset the impacts of TRAIN on their already constrained familial budget.
Both groups tagged Duterte’s TRAIN as “ruthlessly anti-poor for placing them at the losing end as corporations merely transfer their tax obligations to the consuming public”.
“The very character of this administration’s revenue generating imposition is to liberate the already affluent economic elite of their duties and make the laborers and the poor bear the yoke of Duterte’s infrastructure plan which we will not also directly benefit from,” said BMP leader, Leody de Guzman.
The groups deplored claims made by cabinet members that workers shall benefit from the new tax measures.
Protestors lamented that despite not abolishing contractualization and failing to grant them decent wages, the Duterte government has the gall to tell workers that they too shall benefit even if prices of basic goods have already risen since the New Year.
They explained that the lower economic strata such as minimum wage earners shall not benefit since they are already tax exempt since 2008. The slum dwellers and farmworkers shall also not benefit because their income is erratic and their employment temporary.
Both the BMP and Socialista also demanded living wages.
De Guzman argued with the impacts of the new round of taxes taking effect, “it is not only timely but is also apt and justified. We have no other recourse but to pursue economic relief to keep their families economically buoyant”.
“We shall rightfully claim what is ours,” he declared. Refering to the much publicized the economic growth last year and projections for 2018. “All those gains were generated mainly on the workers’ collective productivity. Besides, it is our constitutionally guaranteed right to receive our fair share of our labor”.
The leaders claimed that their demonstration at Mendiola shall be the first of many escalating protest actions in various cities nationwide until the government concedes and grants them their demands.
The next protest is scheduled to take place on the twenty-third of January.###
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