Presidential advisor’s appointment a reward for his group’s silence on anti-poor policies
The appointment of a partylist group’s national president as Noynoy Aquino’s ‘presidential advisor for political affairs’ has been called by a group of young workers, peasants, professionals, and students as ‘reward’ for supporting highly-unpopular policies and programs of the Aquino administration.
“Congratulations to Akbayan for its 180-degree turn-around. From claiming to be a staunch critic of transactional politics under Gloria Arroyo, they are now nothing more but a ‘rubber stamp’ for the current administration’s anti-poor policies” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
One such issue, according to Crisostomo, is the proposed MRT-LRT fare hikes, which has earned the ire of various sectors, especially workers and students in Metro Manila. He noted that while a growing number of groups and organizations have expressed their opposition to the increases, there hasn’t been a single statement from Akbayan in regards to the issue.
Anakbayan has also previously criticized Akbayan for its support of the government’s P29 billion cash dole-outs program, in which the latter noted that the former made a complete turn-around from its previous position that the dole-outs would have no impact on the roots of widespread poverty in the country.
“Kinakain na ng Akbayan ang lahat ng mga prinsipyo kuno nila. Pero siguro sumasarap yun dahil ang gamit nilang sawsawan ay yung mga matataas na posisyon sa gobyerno na nabingwit nila” (Akbayan is eating all the principles that they have claimed to possess. But we suppose it doesn’t taste bad because they serve it with the top gov’t posts that they have snagged as condiments) said the group’s spokesperson.
One of the groups’ previous Congress bets, Eta Rosales, has been named head of the Commission on Human Rights. One of their national officials, Joel Rocamorra, has been named head of the National Anti-Poverty Commission.
Crisostomo added “But truth be told, we are no longer surprised. Our dealings with Akbayan’s youth arm have long taught us that they are nothing but political mercenaries”.
He cited the case of the University in the Philippines which hiked its tuition by 300% last 2007. While thousands of students in UP’s campuses nationwide walked out of their classes to protest the increases, organizations and a political party in UP Diliman which is affiliated with Akbayan expressed their support for it, calling it ‘timely’.