Sunday, August 01, 2021

Velez: Recycling and phasing out schemes


I SAW this post on Facebook: Be proud that the country's contribution to Greta Thunberg's student climate strike is our recycling of politicians, including Mocha Uson.

For those who still didn't know, maybe you've shut yourself out on Facebook, Mocha was the communications undersecretary who gave wrong information, later lost in the partylist race, and now she is back in government as Owwa deputy director.

Also from Facebook, from Palanca winning writer Ogie Rosa, my translation in English: They are phasing out the jeep because it is old. When will they phase out the old political dynasties and trapos from government?

The sad news is, dynasties are not only getting recycled in Congress, they are getting fatter. In last week's final deliberation of the 2020 national budget, members of the House of Representatives will receive 100 million pesos from the 2020 national budget. Imagine our taxes go to nearly 290 representatives and that is 29 billion pesos. Wow, if you don't call that pork, I don't know what to call that. Used oil. Overused oil. Overkill.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) is opposing this pork. Public school teachers are getting a meager salary increase that is equivalent to 49 pesos a day or around 18,000 pesos a year.

To think that teachers are a beast of burden. They teach in front of 50 to 80 students in one classroom the whole day, and travel to their homes facing an hour long traffic. Members of Congress? They sit on the air-conditioned hall and rooms, sometimes just doze off, and what laws do they pass? Postponing elections, extending their terms, allowing foreign investors to come and make profits. Nothing about stopping Endo, stopping the taxes in TRAIN, or stopping the rice importation that's killing their farmers.

The consolation I get from this circus in the House is that Ronald Cardema is finally quitting his dream (delusion) to become a Duterte Youth Rep. He's overage and overacting.

Another consolation is, we have the Makabayan Bloc of Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Gabriela and Kabataan Partylist who do the job of being a watchdog and people's voice in the majority-crazy house.

Please save our sanity and sense of nationhood.

Speaking of jeepneys, the strike on Monday was a protest against their phase out. There are around 180,000 units nationwide. That's about 180,000 families who will lose a daily income of 700 to 1,500 pesos a day. The phaseout will be fully implemented next year with modernization scheme fielding modern jeepneys or buses.

A story from ABS-CBN had these words from one of the drivers who joined the strike. "To the government, we call on them to have a program for the people wherein no one gets aggrieved and stepped on so that when the time comes, there will be no strikes and protests on the road.

"We would rather lose our franchise from joining the strike than not having fought at all for our livelihood."

These are the times today. The good thing is we can recycle hope and struggles.


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