‘Soliman’s lavish gimmick a direct insult to the Pope’s pro-poor stance’ –PAMANTIK-KMU

Workers from all over Southern Tagalog express their complete disgust on DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman’s move to hide families of street children during Pope Francis’ 5-day visit, saying this incident is “a direct insult to the Pope’s progressive thought for the poor”.
Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) Secretary General Allan Bag-as slammed Soliman’s program of sending around 400 street children and their families to a lavish resort in Nasugbu, Batangas. “Even workers in Batangas cannot afford sending their families to such luxurious resorts and would rather save up for basic needs, and now we learn that the government whimsically pampers the poor just to save its face from the Pope’s criticism?” Bag-as said.
Bag-as, referring to the daily minimum wage in Southern Tagalog provinces which dwindled to a measly P255 due to the Two-Tiered Wage System, said that he does not believe this was a part of the Conditional Cash Transfer – a program of the Aquino government which was never successful in the first place in eradicating poverty among urban poor communities.
“Families of workers are the primary recipients of 4P’s – and we have never heard of any excursions to elite-owned beaches until now. What message does this give to the Filipino masses during the Pope’s visit? That poor Filipinos who flocked the streets to see the Pope are not worthy of his presence, when it was precisely the homeless for whom Pope Francis staunchly stood for?” he added.
In connection, Bag-as pointed out that the problem of poverty is caused directly by joblessness and the state policy of contractualization. This, coupled with union-busting, no benefits and hazardous working conditions prevent the majority of the Filipinos from having a better life. He stressed that around 80%-90% of the total workforce in industrial zones in Southern Tagalog are contractual workers who barely survive due to the scraps that foreign monopoly capitalists pay for their hard-earned labor.
“Soliman should be ashamed of herself for squandering government funds. How can this happen when thousands of families have never felt any government support since super-typhoons Yolanda and Ruby hit their homes? The values that Soliman impart are the real bad influence – not the poor and homeless people who get by day-by-day through honest work. Such is her character for being a lapdog of Aquino who is primarily responsible for all the anti-poor and anti-worker policies happening in our country,” Bag-as stressed.
He added that such moves further expose Aquino’s neglect for the people’s interest and only serve to infuriate Filipinos amidst unresolved cases of corruption and human rights abuse across various sectors. “We are fed up with Aquino’s lies and deceits. We are tired of this government treating the poor only as a prop to deodorize its image and ratings for the international community,” he ended. #

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