Ka Leody seeks P1-T pandemic recovery plan 'funded by tax on wealthy'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2021 02:44 PM | Updated as of Nov 29 2021 12:19 PM

 Presidential candidate Leody de Guzman joins a protest calling for accountability for supposed labor abuses by corporations in the mining sector, which count top Filipino billionaires as their owners, at the headquarters of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), on NIA Road, Quezon City on November 19, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Presidential candidate Leody de Guzman joins a protest calling for accountability for supposed labor abuses by corporations in the mining sector, which count top Filipino billionaires as their owners, at the headquarters of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), on NIA Road, Quezon City on November 19, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— Presidential candidate Leody De Guzman said Saturday he will pursue a P1-trillion tax-funded recovery plan if elected to help workers get back on their feet after being derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The labor leader's proposed recovery plan will have two parts: a "state-driven" and "wholly funded" P1-trillion stimulus fund sourced from a one-time 20 percent wealth tax "on the richest 500 families," followed by a continuous program financed "from different sources" for 2023 onwards. 

In a statement, De Guzman cited the need to prioritize the concerns of the working class, citing that the government can not rely solely on help from the private sector during the pandemic. 

“Ang aking panukala ay ang plano sa pang-ekonomiyang pag-ahon na pinangungunahan ng gobyerno at tinuturing ang kagalingan ng manggagawa at taumbayan bilang pundasyon ng ekonomiya. Tutukan ang kagalingan, kalusugan, at karapatan ng ordinaryong mamamayan, hindi ang tutubuin ng mga bilyonaryo. Tao muna bago tubo!" the Laban ng Masa standard-bear said. 

(I propose a state-driven economic recovery plan that regards the welfare of labor and the Filipino people as the foundation of the economy. Focus on the welfare, health, and rights of ordinary people, not the profit margins of the billionaires. People before profit.) 

The P1-trillion recovery plan is composed of a P475-billion public jobs generation program, a P400-billion health stimulus and P125-billion stimulus for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

De Guzman said the jobs generation program would seek to generate 2.45 million jobs, and impose a "fixed wage subsidy for 1 million workers in MSMEs." 

These include slots for 200,000 barangay health workers, 50,000 forest rangers and forest biodiversity caretakers, 300,000 teaching assistants and school personnel, and 500,000 agriculture workers, 200,000 construction workers, and 200,000 public works workers to be assigned to various agencies. 

The P400-billion health stimulus, meanwhile, will seek to eliminate year-long "health out-of-pocket expenses." 

The program also wants to institutionalize the jobs generation program and include a P90-billion fund for an unemployment insurance program providing a P500 daily allowance to 1.3 million involuntarily unemployed workers for 6 months.

"The continuing program for 2023 onwards will seek to institutionalize the jobs generation program via a P500 billion per year employment guarantee to employ 2 million workers a year at a P750 daily wage and to be funded by recurring wealth tax on financial assets, from 1 percent to 5 percent based on a tiered tax rate and a wealth threshold," he said.

If elected, De Guzman also wants an allocation of P250 billion for a "single-payer" health care system, ensuring "better compensation for health care workers" - funded by the annual 5 percent real property tax. 

The plan is part of the "manggagawa naman" advocacy set by him and his running-mate, activist and scholar Walden Bello, which includes ending contractualization, among others.

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