Groups urge candidates to address ‘consumer electoral agenda’

On the second day of filing of certificates of candidacy of 2019 election aspirants, activists belonging to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Metro Manila (Bayan), Gabriela Metro Manila and Kilusang Mayo Uno Metro Manila trooped to the Commission on Elections in Manila to enjoin those gunning for high seats in government in forwarding solutions to stop the rising prices of basic commodities and utilities.

The groups pointed out that as the election fever rises amid rising prices of basic commodities, election aspirants must express opposition over the government’s excessive taxes, massive rice importation, deregulation of the oil industry, monopoly of rice supply among other issues directly impacting poor Filipinos.

They also challenge politicians to bare their pro-consumer, pro-poor, and pro-people platforms as their response to the rising cost of living in the country. According to them, “the upcoming elections must be a platform of concrete actions that should lessen prices of basic commodities and social services.”

“Office-seekers in the upcoming polls must veer away from the schemes of the present administration in mass importation and passing on additional taxes and burden to the loaded shoulders of our working people. Loads of taxes and imports causes nothing beneficial to us but widespread hunger and deepening poverty,” said Gabriela Metro Manila Spokersperson Ina Fadrequela.

She added, “High prices of rice, oil, water charges, and social pension contributions brought about by excise taxes, VAT, and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law further drains the already low wages of Filipino workers. Worse, it is already killing families who have no work or no sources of livelihood.”

On the recent 2018 Social Weather Station survey conducted from June 27-30, 2018, around 9.4% or an estimated 2.2 million families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months. Out of this survery, hunger rate has been up by 7 points in Metro Manila with an estimate of 412,000 families. Self-rated poverty also rose to 52%.

As part of their challenge to 2018 national and local candidates, the groups bare their 8-point Consumer’s Electoral Agenda” which includes: (1) Junking the TRAIN Law; (2) Halting Buid-Build-Build projects; (3) Price control; (4) Halting importation and monopoly of rice, oil and other basic commodities; (5) Implementing a significant wage increase; (6) Decent jobs and employment; (7) Free land distribution for farmers for abundant local production; (8) National industrialization.

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