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GMA Should Listen to the Sob Stories of the People - GCAP

Billy Jihocos earns his living by pedaling a trolley cart for commuters in the train tracks of Sta. Mesa. He hardly earns enough to send his 7-year old son to school. His wife is three months pregnant with their second child. She has been refused check-up by the barangay center, and was told to go the hospital instead. She is suspected to be suffering from TB.

It could be the stuff soap operas are made of. But the Jihocos are not fictional characters. They live in a make-shift shack by the railroad along with hundreds of others, more or less under the same situation. Their story is told in MISSED TARGETS, a 20-minute documentary on how the government has missed in its target of meeting the millennium development goals.

Based on the mid-term alternative MDG report published by Social Watch Philippines in the second quarter this year, this video version is a project of broadcasting students from the Polytechnic. University of the Philippines (PUP) with the support of GCAP-Philippines.

The video documentary is the Philippine coalition’s alternative presentation to the High Level Meeting of world leaders underway in New York. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo led the Philippine delegation where is expected to claim successes in the MDGs.

“President Arroyo’s claim that development is felt by the people is simply not true. The middle class, the masses, the poor and the homeless all suffer from poverty,” Prof. Leonor Briones, lead convenor of Social Watch Philippines said.

In the documentary, Briones asserted the people’s rights to exact service from the government. “Ang unang pinangalingan (ng kanilang kahirapan) ay pinababayaan sila ng pamahalaan, na kumukuha ng buwis sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng VAT,” said Prof. Briones. “ So Kailangan singilin nila ang pamahalaan dahil pananagutan yan ng pamahalaan.Kukuha sila ng 1.4 trillion sa atin, kailangan hihingi tayo ng 1.4 trillion na serbisyo at benepisyo para sa taong bayan.”

Joel Saracho, national coordinator of GCAP Philippines said, the government is more inclined to maintain a balanced budget and project Mrs. Arroyo as a good financial manager to the detriment of the delivery of social services. “Education is the first to suffer,” Saracho said, “followed by the health needs. If the government’s priority is debt servicing, the only way they can keep the budget balanced is by depriving the people the basic services.”

Missed Targets will be shown in various communities as part of GCAP’s education campaign leading to the Stand Up, Take Action Day in October.