“A cruel and sick joke on taxpayers.”
This was the reaction of a militant labor group to statements made over the weekend by the House of Representatives and the Senate, with both chambers pointing to the “good work [that they had]done in the past year.”
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Senate President Drilon issued virtually the same statements as the legislative adjourned for its Christmas break.
Gie Relova, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) spokesman, said, “Our legislators have outdone themselves. They still have the gall to praise themselves for a job well done even if the legislative, especially Congress, always scores the lowest rating in surveys. To the Filipino public, the Congress and the Senate, commonly parodied as a pigsty, are the most untrustworthy institutions of the bureaucracy.”
Among the accomplishments of the House, according to Belmonte, were passing the P2.6- trillion national budget for 2015 and the P22.4 billion supplemental budget for 2014, allowing full entry of foreign banks, promoting job generation and providing for mandatory health insurance coverage for all senior citizens.
Those of the Senate, according to its president, were passing the Iskolar ng Bayan Act and the Open Distance Learning Act.
Anchoring its accomplishments, the chamber said, was its increased approval ratings in June.
Relova chided both chambers for bragging about their supposed feats.
For one, he said, “pork” remains in the 2015 budget.
“Our lawmakers are patting each other’s backs for cleverly hiding the nefarious Priority Development Assistance Fund [PDAF], which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013,” Relova added.
For another, he said, “The full liberalization of the banking industry, without amending the Charter, is contrary to the protection of the Filipino economy against foreign interests. The entry of large multinational banks, which are larger than all the existing local banks combined, would force mass layoffs and retrenchment in the banking industry.”
Relova argued that if the House and the Senate “truly represent the will of a people now disgusted over the pork barrel, the lack of transparency in government and in the budgetary processes, they should have urgently passed (measures aimed at) political reforms such as the FOI [freedom of information]bill and the anti-dynasty bill.”
But, he said, “[p]roposed measures such as these [FOI and anti-dynasty bills] could be found at the backburners of various House and Senate committees, with our legislators… [delaying]the legislative processes.”