By NORWIN GONZALES
BAGUIO CITY — On International Working Women’s Day (IWWD), women from all over the Cordilleras unite in Baguio City to challenge the “macho-fascist” rule of President Rodrigo Duterte. They are led by Innabuyog and its provincial chapters.
At the center of the protest was a cardboard train depicting the horrible effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law.
The artwork resembling the MRT was chained to consumers carrying items marked “rising prices” which burden the women of the region. Masked men depicting US imperialism and President Duterte as the train engineer.
Audrey Corce of Innabuyog laid down the history of the IWWD evolving from its roots in other countries and eventually finding its way to the Philippines in 1971, led by the women’s mass organization-turned-revolutionary organization Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (Makibaka).
She also underscored that while domestic violence remains a matter of concern for many women, a more vicious type of violence against women, which is state-perpetrated violence oppresses millions of women all over the country. The passage of Train intensifies this violence, in the economic sense.
Students from Innabuyog Youth insisted that while the Train Law burdens those from the basic economic sectors most, students also suffer the brunt of the law with rising prices in transportation, food, and other school expenses. They also fear the application of the law in tuition and other school fees, which will in turn unleash its wrath on to parents who work hard to put their children to school.
“Duterte’s Train Law can be likened to a literal train that pounds the pockets of those who are already poor,” Daisy Bagni of urban poor women’s organization Samahan ng Kababaihang Nagkakaisa said.
She said that the Train Law only wants to collect what is left in their pockets. The so-called reduction in income tax no longer applies to them because those who are already poor, below minimum wage-earners no longer pay income tax. They, however, are affected by the rising prices in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), basic food items, among others. She further disproved the claim that only “sweetened” items are covered by Train.
Bagni also slammed the government’s palliative adding P200 to the conditional cash transfers (CCT) in order to accommodate the higher prices. “There will come a time when CCTs will stop. But the Train Law will be there forever unless it is junked,” she said.
“It is us, the already poor. Those who have no permanent income. It is us, who will be most affected by Train,” Bagni ended. # nordis.net