15 August 2020
"Stingy stimulus" anti-competitive, labor group
BMP: Failure to rescue MSMEs, workers to "empower Oligarchy"
Workers group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) hits the P162 billion standby fund allocated to House Bill No. 6953, or the Bayanihan to Recover As One 2, as "too stingy for a stimulus", says that "allowing small business to fail will destroy competition to big business."
"Is that what (Finance Secretary Carlos) Dominguez and Congress wants? To concentrate the remaining market share to the fewer and fewer giant firms controlled by oligarchs?," asked BMP President Luke Espiritu.
Austerity will worsen unemployment crisis
The labor lawyer also said that "austerity will worsen the unemployment crisis", which has climbed to record-breaking 17.7% with 7.3 million unemployed according to the recent data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
"What is the primary effect of joblessness? More bargaining power for the remaining big firms. They can always say: Stop complaining, I can fire you are and ten jobless workers will compete for your position," Espiritu said.
Espiritu added that "not only capital is concentrated to oligarch corporations as small business fail, the power of these corporations to repress wages is also intensified."
"We are now in an ongoing retrenchment wave. The labor department itself released data that at least 157,705 workers were already displaced from January to August," Espiritu said.
Government can stop recession
Espiritu appeals to the bicameral committee to review the amount and consider other stimulus proposals from worker's groups and other think tanks.
"I do not understand how (Speaker Alan Peter) Cayetano's Congress can go from discussing the P1.3 trillion Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (ARISE) bill to this pittance," Espiritu said.
Espiritu added that even the National Economic and Development (NEDA) authority itself projects a 5.5% drop in end-year growth rates, "which translates to P960 billion loss in output".
"Shouldn't we at least spend a trillion? The government can practically ensure that there is no recession for this year. And yet it will allow all of us to suffer," Espiritu concluded.##
For reference, please contact: Luke Espiritu