Socialist group warns Duterte of Rasputins in his cabinet

MANILA, Philippines - Socialist group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) expressed grave concern that several members of the Cabinet are actively working against the fulfillment of the economic reforms vowed by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

Socialist group warns Duterte of Rasputins in his cabinet

Days ago, the government’s so-called economic managers ganged-up and rejected the P125 national wage increase proposal, that according to them would push inflation rates to 9.7 percent and spike unemployment by 1.2 percent.

The group identified Secretaries Ramon Lopez, Ernesto Pernia, Benjamin Diokno and Silvestre Bello of the trade, socioeconomic planning, budget, and labor departments respectively as ‘obstacles’ to the realization of the president’s wishes that the BMP said “could have made positive impacts in the lives of millions of ordinary folks.”

“The alter egos of the president in the economic cluster are clearly on the opposite side of their superior and the heavily taxed ordinary folks who pay for their salaries. The secretaries have been consistently active in countering measures that the president has explicitly declared. More importantly, they are not only defying the president’s orders but betraying the trust between him and the nation,” the group’s spokesperson, Attorney Luke Espiritu said.

Among the economic reforms that the secretaries have opposed despite the president’s open support, according to Espiritu is the abolition of all forms of contractual employment, the establishment of a national wage board, a substantial wage increase for the public and private sector as well as the ban on land conversion.

He also accused the cabinet officials of “poisoning the mind” of the president into withdrawing his promises and to fear mongering.

“If they are not fulfilling the wishes of the president or that of the taxpayers, then whose interests are they working for, Espiritu inquired.

BMP fears that other measures that will substantially raise the quality of life of millions living below the poverty line will receive the similar fate as the wage increase proposal.

He likewise reminded the officials that, “It is the overwhelming support of working class that catapulted Duterte to power for they believed that he can affect change they seek. This government must serve the interests of the many and not of the elite”.

“With the way things are going and not unless they are removed from their posts immediately”, Espiritu warned that the recently issued Executive Order No. 5, adopting the “Ambisyon 2040”, a long-term development plan aimed at tripling Filipinos’ per capita income to $11,000 in 24 years’ time “will remain to be a bureaucratic pipedream”.

“If the President really sides with the overburdened workers then he must on guard at all times from his subordinates and terminate them at the smallest infraction they commit,” Espiritu asserted.

The group, last week demanded the president to fire trade Secretary Lopez for his efforts to block the abolition of all forms of contractualization.

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