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Anti-poor regime has no dignity to lose – ANAKBAYAN

June 5, 2010

August 18, 2009

Anti-poor regime has no dignity to lose – ANAKBAYAN

“Don’t worry about loss of dignity. You can’t lose what you don’t have in the first place”

This was the response of youth group ANAKBAYAN to Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo justifying the lavish dinners of his mother during her latest U.S visit.

In a TV interview, Arroyo said eating in a ‘turo-turo’ or other simple eating establishments is demeaning to the “dignity” of his mother and her Cabinet officials.

News reports in the past two weeks revealed that Gloria and her entourage had at least four dinners in upscale restaurants such as Le Cirque in New York, and Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Washington D.C. The meal at the former cost around $20,000, while that at the latter cost around $15,000.

“How dare they talk about loss of dignity? How about the poor who can’t even afford ‘turo-turo’ and sift through garbage for their meals? What has Arroyo done to protect them from such demeaning acts?” said ANAKBAYAN chairperson Ken Ramos.

According to Ramos, the four dinners are a reflection of the gap between the poor and the rich in the Philippines, a gap which has worsened under eight years worth of Arroyo’s policies. He cited a study by the Asian Development Bank which showed four out of ten Filipinos suffered from “involuntary hunger” and that 25.4 million Filipinos lived on less than $1.35 a day. Meanwhile, official data placed the daily cost of living for an average family at P904, while the minimum wage in the NCR is at P382 daily.

One glaring example, according to Ramos, is the continued inaction of Arroyo on the issue of oil price hikes.

Since the State of the Nation Address, oil firms have hiked their prices thrice, by P4.50 per liter.

Recently, umbrella group BAYAN revealed that the Big Three oil firms have been overpricing their products as follows: P12.12 per liter for kerosene, P9.08 for diesel, P3.09 for unleaded gasoline, and P51.36 for every 11-kilo tank of LPG. In the same study by BAYAN, the Big Three rake in P138.14 million a day in profits from overpricing alone. The consumer group COPW and former NEDA director-general Ralph Recto meanwhile said that the Big Three are overpricing their products by P8.00 a liter.

“How can you respect someone who plays blind and deaf to the problems of the poor?” said Ramos.###

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