08 January 2019
Labor hits Palace siding with US, says it places OFWs in harm’s way
Workers group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) criticized the administration after Palace officials said that the president will side with the United States if Filipinos are harmed once violence erupt in the Middle East.
The group said that the chief executive’s statement was “premature, reckless and unilateral and only aggravates” the perilous situation overseas Filipino workers in the entire Middle East are in.
“All the more. Such imprudent pronouncement shall place our overseas contract workers in peril and burden their families with increased anxiety,” said Luke Espiritu, president of the group.
The BMP president added that if the Palace is genuinely concerned for the safety and welfare of countrymen, then it would be better for the president to shut up and simply execute evacuation protocols and let the experienced diplomats do their work.
Espiritu averred that diplomacy and neutrality are the necessary political tools to ensure the safety our OFWs.
The group argued that such a statement may be misconstrued as a threat by Iran and its allies all over the beleaguered region and turn our overseas Filipino workers into nationals of a hostile nation.
The BMP reminded the Palace that of the more than four million Filipinos in the Middle East and the great majority of them reside in nations which hosts US military assets which may be targetted by Iranian allies in those countries.
Excise and Value added taxes
The group reiterated their call for the suspension of the collection of excise and value added taxes (VAT) on petroleum as the market prices soared further after Iran admitted to firing rockets on two American airbases in Iraq.
BMP maintained that indirect taxation in the form of excise and VAT is unjust because it burdens the poor for merely purchasing basic necessities. According to the group, levies must be based on income, profit and property.
Espiritu asserts that without the suspension of excise taxes an extraordinary surge in retail prices of basic commodities is inevitable.
“Malacanang has always been the first to admit that we are vulnerable to surges in the global oil market. Now that oil prices are rising and our oil reserves are depleting, Malacanang must do its share to shield the public from further aggravation,” he said.
“Its a simple as issuing an Executive Order like the president did in November 2018 to curb runaway inflation,” the labor leader added.
The group cited study released by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies in January last year that claimed that the TRAIN Law increased poverty in the most vulnerable sections of society due to higher commodity prices paid by the poor.###
For reference: Luke Espiritu – 0995 9729969