April 12, 2010
Davao City — Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU-Southern Mindanao) and Anakpawis Southern Mindanao labeled the proposition made by the government and other economists to freeze wage increase as a vicious practice of government that turns a blind eye to the misery of workers.
“Freezing wage increase amidst the current economic handicap suffered by millions of Filipinos nationwide is pushing the poor to the wall. Only a “hitlerian” government would ignore the glaring poverty suffered by its people and facilitate it further by favoring the capitalist interest of the business sector,” said Dodong Basilio, KMU – SMR Secretary General and Coordinator of Anakpawis Southern Mindanao.
In consultations conducted by Anakpawis, informal workers of small enterprises such as canteens and small restaurants and cottage industries in Davao get as low as P 80 per day with no SSS, Philhealth or other benefits.
As of September 2008, Department of Labor and Employment’s National Wages and Productivity Commission mandated a minimum wage of P 255 for the agriculture sector and P 265 (including COLA) for those in the non-agricultural sector for Region XI.
“The COLA addition to the basic PhP 240 wage, did little to provide food for our families. It’ a small change for multinationals and transnationals which continue to reap super profits from our country as we remain to be a major source of reliable labor force in the world,” said Basilio
Believing in the justness of the demand for a P 125 wage increase, Anakpawis along with senatoriables Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza and other progressive partylist groups vow to continue the fight for the PhP 125 legislated wage increase until after the next elections.
“The daily minimum wage mandated by law does not allow a decent and quality way of life for workers which is why we have long been demanding a 125 wage increase. Way back 2005, the government said that a family of five should earn at least PhP 204 daily to buy their minimum basic food and non-food needs and yet is has done nothing to raise our salary to cope with such standard. How else can our children go to school? How can we bring our sick to the hospital when they won’t even treat us without any deposit?” lamented Basilio.
With this, Anakpawis partylist urged election candidates to give their commitment to the P 125 across the board legislated wage hike.
“Those who aspire to be our leaders must have a definite commitment to the worker sector which is the strength and muscle of our economy. Those candidates who say they are for the poor and oppressed must give their support to the demand for a 125 across the board salary increase,” said Basilio.
Anakpawis has been pushing for House Bill 1722 or An Act Providing for a legislated P125.00 across the board wage increase for all workers in the private sector. The said bill, which is also known as the Beltran’s Bill, named after the late labor leader and
Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran, has faced tough opposition from the lower and upper house since the 11th Congress owing to verbalized pressures from the business sector especially foreign transnational companies.
Militant solons like Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza have been in the forefront for this wage hike campaign even long before they joined the congress. In her sponsorship speech on
September 3, 2008, Gabriela – Nacionalista Party Senatorial bet Liza Maza recounted the travails faced by the bill.
“In the 13th Congress, the P125 wage increase bill was once again refiled by the progressive partylist bloc. Then Chairman of the Committee on Labor and Employment Cong. Roseller Barinaga also filed a similar bill. The two measures were consolidated into House Bill 345. The consolidated bill was overwhelmingly supported and co-authored by more than 50 of our colleagues. This time, after several mobilizations and lobbying undertaken by the workers outside and inside Congress, it passed the 3rd reading in the plenary” she recounted .
Maza further explained, “However, after employers and big business groups appealed to President Arroyo and to Congress to recall the passage of this bill, and with the connivance of the executive’s economic advisers, the bill wasn’t immediately transmitted to the Senate. Such act violated the Rules of the House. Months after, it was recalled without basis.”
KMU – SMR Secretary General and
Coordinator of Anakpawis Southern Mindanao