Longer Wage Freeze Ahead with Arroyo in Politics Beyond May Polls

News Release
26 March 2010

Gloria Arroyo’s occupation of any post in the bureaucracy after the May polls could mean an extended wage freeze and approval of more anti-labor policies for workers, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said today.

KMU said with Arroyo having more than one ace up in her sleeve, a prolonged uphill battle for a substantial and legislated wage hike looms for workers. Since June 2008, wage levels in all regions have remained the same despite an upsurge in prices of basic commodities.

“The appointment of the midnight chief justice and Arroyo’s congressional bid in Pampanga, among other tactics, are ominous signs for an extended wage freeze and job massacres in the eyes of workers. These schemes are dangerous indications of extended suffering for Filipinos,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

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Minimum wage rates in all regions hardly meet the daily cost of living for a family of six. In the National Capital Region for instance, minimum wage is at P382 while the cost of living stands at P917. Since 2001, there has been no nationwide wage increase – only sparse and measly increases.

“Nine years of abysmal wage levels must be put to an end. Nine years of steep price hikes should not be extended. And so is Arroyo’s bankrupt presidency,” Labog said.

Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Joel Maglunsod, meanwhile, cited Arroyo’s record of rejecting the House Bill calling for a P125 legislated wage increase since the 13th Congress, saying “her congressional bid in Pampanga portends a harsher battle for a wage hike in Congress, especially as she has the numbers to win House speakership.”

“Workers and the people strongly reject the idea of having a House Speaker Gloria Arroyo rejecting the passage of the bill for a P125 wage hike in Congress, much more the idea of letting her stay as President beyond the May elections,” Rep. Maglunsod said.

“Arroyo has railroaded in Congress several schemes that have eroded wages of Filipino workers, including the onerous and anti-poor Extended Value Added Tax or E-VAT. We definitely do not want her to have another round for railroading similar schemes,” Maglunsod added.

The labor leader-turned-solon also called on the people to demand the disqualification of several bogus party-lists linked to the Arroyo regime, saying “their electoral bids bode a bigger Congress bloc that will fail our hopes for the passage of the P125 wage increase and other much-needed legislations.”

Reference: Rep. Joel Maglunsod, Anakpawis Partylist

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