The militant women’s partylist group Gabriela today criticized as a mere spin, President Arroyo‘s supposed bid to have pro-poor measures passed including a measure implementing tax exemption for minimum wage earners.

“This is but an attempt to appease growing restiveness as prices of oil, rice and basic commodities continue to rise. The truth is, a great majority of the population will not at all benefit from this measure,” said Rep. Maza.

According to Maza, statistics from the Department of Labor and Employment would reveal that only 7.9M of the country’s workers receive wages equivalent to the minimum wage or even lower. This is not even half of the country’s total labor force which is estimated at 37M.

“This token relief is almost insulting. Majority of the impoverished population do not even have jobs, much less wages to speak of. Most women in urban poor communities for example have resorted to various odd jobs like doing the laundry, vending food, or doing home service manicures,” said Maza.

The Gabriela solon instead pushed for HB3433 repealing the Reform Value Added Tax law which will benefit not just a few workers but the entire population. Repealing the RVAT is expected to cut prices of commodities by as much as 12%. Gasoline and diesel prices will be reduced by over P5.00.

“We challenge Congress to tackle and immediately approve the repeal of the RVAT and other genuine pro-poor measures.” #


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