June 23, 2000
WORKERS SCORE WORLD BANK & PARDO FOR
POSTAL SERVICE SALE PLAN
WORKERS and employees of the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) were rattled of the news in the papers of the impending privatization of the postal service. Banking on the three modes, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Jose Pardo hints that the privatization of Philpost is a priority one and could be in any of the three modes currently being used by the government. The first mode is full privatization; the second, partial privatization of which missionary areas still to be managed by the government; while the third one is to give full management control to the private sector with the government providing the resources. "All these lead to one thingloss of jobs for the 17,000 affected postal workers, inaccessible and unaffordable postal service for the ordinary Filipinos, and dissipated workers benefits," said PRAFEA President Manuel Rama.
Postmaster-General Nicasio Rodriguez went to the US recently to hand in a silver platter Philposts privatization plan to three prospective multinational bidders. Relying on the frame rendered by Republic Act (RA) 7354 or the Postal Service Act of 1992, Rodriguez claimed that privatization is in the offing because it is implied in the said law.
The imminent privatization of Philpost is a product of memorandum from the World Bank (WB) and being fulfilled by the Estrada government. According to the WB memorandum, Philpost has to be privatized due to its ascending volume of mails and inexpensive postal service which happens to be the second lowest in the world. Likewise, it has to be privatized due to bankruptcy. "The Erap government is hell-bent in implementing the Philpost privatization in exchange for fresh loans that are up for grabs for his cronies, kamag-anaks, and drinking buddies, etc.," Rama added.
"The privatization design, being part of globalization, is the peddling to private local & foreign capital of public assets and services. It aims to achieve quick and sure super profits and not accessible and low-cost service to the consuming public. With privatization, profits are immediately assured even without shelling out capital for infrastructure development," Rama assessed. Among those privatized are Petron, Philippine Airlines (PAL), Manila Hotel, National Steel Corporation (NSC), and the Metropolitan Waterworks & Sewerage System (MWSS). On the auction bloc are the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), National Food Authority (NFA), hospitals, Light Rail Transit (LRT), ports, roads, state colleges and universities, and the postal service.
We are now in the village of global economy, they say, and therefore private capital should be given freer leeway. Workers in any part of the world are currently opposing the imperialist globalization of liberalization of trade & investment, industry deregulation, privatization of state assets and companies, on a wider scale. It destroys the life and economics of the people, represses workers rights, and the one who benefits are the foreign monopoly capitalists and their local cohorts.
The slogan "Erap Para sa Mahihirap" is a masquerade and deceptive because it is inhumane and just a signboard cover for its subservience to foreign monopoly capitalists and local elite few. "A government that privatizes its basic public services like water, electricity, health and education, as well as vital and strategic agencies is no longer the government for its people. These basic social services should always be available and accessible but affordable for all of us," Rama uttered.
Still failing to realize their long-lost salary differentials, the Philpost workers is about to loose as well benefits that they used to enjoy once surrendered to private capital/foreign monopoly control. Thousands of jobs were lost in MWSS while at present, water supply and distribution are deteriorating. Low wage & benefits exist in cash-strapped PAL and leading towards financial mismanagement. Mass lay-off is certain on the reorganization of NAPOCOR and streamlining of NFA, paving the way for their eventual privatization. "These state firms are performing essential and crucial functions on our economy and daily social lives. This relinquishes on a silver platter the delivery of necessary services to the people in the hands of private capital and foreign monopolists," Rama said.
The Erap government acts deaf and mute on the ill effects of privatization in the lives of public employees and to the common tao. It ignores as well the long-term disastrous consequences on the lives of the people. This includes the Filipino taxpayers assumption of the payment of non-performing assets given up by the gaining private capital.
"The ongoing re-engineering and changes in the staffing pattern is just a prelude to Philposts eventual privatization. Whats next is the propagation of a rotten alibi of bankruptcy and loss of profits and therefore a heavy weight to Erap governments burgeoning budget deficit," Rama said.
Looking back, one of the reasons of changing the Bureau of Posts to a corporation is to make it a self-generating corporation and to endow in swelling the national coffers. Likewise, it also sought the improvement of services to make it efficient and quick, hence, conceptualizing a lot of projects for fast and pilferage-free service. Furthermore, its surplus money managed to spin-off some of its services to different subsidiaries.
"Concerned Philpost workers and employees under the banner of Philpost Rank & File Employees Association (PRAFEA) will welcome their corporations privatization with intensified protest and heightened anger. Let us join hands in calling for a stop to Philpost privatization and oppose mass lay-off. Let us defend our jobs and genuine service to the public," Rama surmised. #