Jul 31, 2014

Cordillera: Aquino’s Pledges Little Help for Minorities

As President Aquino of the Philippines delivered his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA), different sectors also had their own SONA in Baguio City to show the real state of the nation at the Igorot Park. People from the government, education, health, youth and urban poor sector came out to show the real state of the nation through a protest rally and an information exhibit.

Below is an article published by Sunstar:

According to the Cordillera People's Alliance (CPA), the tall tales and statistics in Aquino's SONA are only development for the few. Imperialism, plunder of lands and resources, no salary increase, and lack of budget for the education sector remains to be the biggest concern in the Cordillera region, according to CPA.

Teachers and even government employees in the region have been clamoring for salary and benefits increase claiming their salaries are not enough for the high cost of living in the country but their pleas were never granted.

Aquino remained stiff in his position on House Bill 245 filed by Concerned Alliance Teachers party list, which calls for increase in the salary of teaching and non-teaching personnel of schools and increase in the education budget.

The government employees through the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement for Government Employees (Courage) has also prepared a resolution junking Bureau Internal Revenue (BIR) Memorandum Order 23-2014, which imposes a low minimum salary of P9,000.

Moreover, the public-private partnership (PPP) program is feared to privatize all major public hospitals in the region, which has started at the Baguio General Hospital, one of the hospitals nationwide planned to be privatized by the Department of Health.

Marc Mendiola of the Health for People Brigade said the PPP Program under the current administration will only increase the prices and fees for health services and be a burden to the public.

In addition, the plunder of the indigenous peoples' territories aggravated by destructive projects under Aquino's regime such as geothermal plants, hydro power plants and other projects that promise huge profits at the expense of the rights of the IPs and even the environment.