The projected economic growth of between 6.7 and 7 percent this year and the rosy international credit ratings for the Philippines do not necessarily translate into the improvement of the people’s lives. Latest figures from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) show that poverty incidence remain largely unchanged since 2006– from 10.8 percent in 2006, 10.0 percent in 2009 and 10.0 percent in 2012. A Filipino family of five needs P5,458 to meet basic food needs every month. Families earning such amount is considered to be living in “extreme poverty” and this amounts to ten percent of Filipino families.Neo-liberal’s claim of attaining inclusive growth is hollow. In reality, it is a jobless growth.
Rather than developing strategic and capital goods industries, Pnoy’s idea of job generation is by expanding services and further opening up the country’s natural resources for imperialist plunder. The government has pegged tourism, Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs), agribusiness and mining as priority investment areas.
At the same time, the government has gradually abdicated its responsibility of providing social services to the people, through an outright sale of government properties rendering direct services or via the private-public partnership or PPP. For neoliberalism means “rejection of the state of its social functions”.
The push to bring in more private capital into strategic economic endeavors was recently articulated by Mr. Manny Pangilinan, the top executive of telecommunication monopoly, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). In fact, PLDT has come under fire recently with its extensive foreign capitalization. For instance, JP Morgan Asset Holdings (Hong Kong), NTT DoCoMo (Japan) and NTT Communication Corp. (Japan) already comprise 40.59 percent, a breach of the 60-40 equity in favor of Filipinos.
If this was not bad enough, the real creators of wealth, which is labor-power, is continuously under attack by capital. In the case of Pangilinan, he has earned a notorious reputation when it comes to dealing with unions and its own employees. He has come out with sophisticated techniques to chip away at union membership and render the union powerless. He has done it before with PLDT’s rank and file union, now he is doing it again, this time with the Digitel Employees Union (DEU), the union of his most recent acquisition, Digitel.
While PLDT profits enjoyed a 12 percent boost courtesy of Digitel’s contribution to the PLDT group, the DEU workers are left jobless, as new owner PLDT has the gall to violate the Supreme Court decision which favored the union and ordered that negotiations for collective bargaining agreement to commence immediately. The management’s offer—a job in PLDT but on a contractual basis.
Neo-liberalism is for unhampered flow of capital and commodities. Impediments are anathema to its operation including the decision of the Supreme Court.
Like other foreign monopoly capitalists and big local businessmen, Pangilinan epitomizes the logic of private capital in pushing the Filipino people especially the workers into an “ever increasing misery” in their own homeland.
After proving himself to be an anti-Filipino by squeezing the Filipino workers dry, Pangilinan “called on Malacañang to include the private sector in mapping out fresh antipoverty programs.” Continuously pushing its former regular workers into the ranks of contractuals, he has long ago lost every inch of a moral ground in combating poverty. He has been doing this in seven heath care institutions or hospitals, four telecommunications companies, one electric provider, one water provider, three BPOs, one cable provider, one mining corporation, one TV network, one investment corporation and one tollway corporation .
As of July last year, the MVP Group had a total market capital of P 1.194 trillion, revenues of P 480.32 billion and core profit of P72.36 billion.
It is a simple case of double talk. In fact, what he meant is for the government to specifically open agriculture and tourism to private capital in the pretext of “creating higher levels of employment and income to our people”.
As the working class celebrates today the International Workers Day, we extend our solidarity with them and are with them in the struggle against the neo-liberal offensives against the working class.
Let us continue to expose the pretensions of Pnoy’s government in ascribing the masses as his “boss”. Let us further build an invigorated broad people’s movement to assert our sovereignty. ####