Monday, September 13, 2004

Shaved Haircut For Salary Increase

September 13, 2004

Health Workers of the Philippine General Hospital and the University of the Philippines Manila today have their heads shaved, in order to dramatize their call for a P3,000.00 across the board salary increase for all government employees. The shaved haircut was a form of protest to the apathy of the national government on the flight of ordinary government employees, amidst the continued rise of prices of petroleum, fare, services and basic commodities. The shaved haircut also symbolizes the government workers’ going bald in thinking of means to make both ends meet amidst the ever-increasing prices of goods and services. Finally, the shave haircut symbolizes the near desperation, or “almost like a death-row convict” state of government workers under the regime of President GMA. The activity is spearheaded by the All U.P. Workers Union - Manila. Their demand is written in their cleanly shaven heads.
"Yes, there was a fiscal crisis, as a matter of fact the problem of uncontrollable budget deficit by the national government has started way back in 1981. But, this was largely due to overwhelming graft and corruption by high ranking officials and their cronies, and the liberalization policies enforced by the government. This results to undelivered or substandard projects and diminishing revenues by both the BIR and the Bureau of Customs. It also results to economic dislocation of our local farmers, as well the small and medium industries,” said Jossel Ebesate, the Union’s Chapter President. “We also believed that our government have skewed priorities in the allocation of its budget. For the 2005 budget proposal of P907.6B for example, P645.9B was earmarked for debt payment (interest and principal), leaving only the crumbs for basic services like health, education, and other social services. Primitive logic would tell us that between someone’s food to eat and debt from nearby sari-sari store, one would always prioritize food. This contrasts to our government who would tell its largely impoverished people to save even more so that it can continually pay its foreign debts some of which was not even utilized for productive purposes.
“Our demand of P3,000.00 across the board salary increase is just a token increase (pantawid gutom). Our families now barely eat three square meals a day, the Filipinos are sick. We cannot take this by just sitting down. We’ve been asking this for years! And yet the government played blind, instead they kept giving higher appropriations on debt servicing and the military” said Ely Estropigan, a Union supporter.
Aside from the All U.P. Workers Union, the said activity was supported by the All U.P. Academic Employees’ Union, the PGH - Physicians’ Association, the Utility Workers Association of PGH, and the Alliance of Health Workers. xxx

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