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Without addressing roots of poverty, Duterte’s Magna Carta of the poor to fail miserably – labor group

Press Release
May 26, 2019

QUEZON CITY – Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) is not at all optimistic that the recently signed into law Republic Act 11291 or the Magna Carta of the Poor by President Rodrigo Duterte will even make a dent to address the ever-growing number of families falling below poverty levels.

The group claimed that the law will “fail miserably” in aiming for the reduction of poverty and or even increasing the poor’s access to social services as state policies continue to favor the economic elite.

“RA 11291 is a mere codification of what is already supposedly being implemented or should be by agencies. An overstatement of the mandate of agencies but does it raise a finger at the glaring causes and contributors to the perennial issue of poverty will amount to nothing but cosmetic theatrics to an administration severely failing to deliver change, said Ka Leody de Guzman, chair of BMP.

According to the new law, the poor shall be classified as persons whose income falls below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and those who cannot afford their minimum basic needs of food, health, education, and housing.

He argues that a mere reiteration of the administration’s innate duty to advance the interests of the poor is pointless without properly identifying the root causes and the policies that contributed to its catastrophic rise.

De Guzman said, “despite its overarching scope, RA 11291 is a classic case of doublespeak. Its ambiguity only highlights its deafening silence on the factors that contributed to poverty”

He cites the continued practice of contractualization and circumvention of constitutionally guaranteed labor rights and the regionalization and municipalization of wages in industrial hubs as the obstacles to achieving the law’s objective.

The labor leader adds that recently enacted laws such as Tax reform law and the Rice import tariffication law will only exacerbate the miserable conditions of those living below poverty levels.

He pointed out that the TRAIN Law has been discovered to have contributed to inflation by the state think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies and the Rice import tariffication law deprived Filipino farmers 95 billion pesos in income says the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc..

“Not unless this administration veer away from the path of neo-liberal globalization and the socially generated value is equitably distributed, the man-made crisis of privation will worsen beyond Duterte’s six-year term,“ he said.