Gov’t workers assail rising cost of food, utilities amid low pay

Government workers held a protest today, Feb. 15 against the rising prices of staple goods and services, decrying that their salaries have remained low.

“The rising prices of basic commodities are eating up our take-home pay,” Santiago Dasmarinas Jr., president of government workers union Courage, said in a statement.

Government data revealed that the inflation rate last month was at 4.2 percent, which is higher than the previous two years. This has led to increased prices of basic goods and services, with food prices up by at least 6.2-percent.

Under the current Salary Standardization Law, government workers are receiving salaries which are “inadequate on top of the continuing pandemic and worsening economic crisis,” Dasmarinas said. Bearing the brunt of the low pay are government workers who are contractual, are in lower-class local government-units, low-earning government-owned and -control corporations.

Republic Act No. 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law of 2019 states that the lowest salary grade is at P11,551 ($241).

The group also assailed that those who dare to protest their rights are now being red-tagged.

“We will not be cowed to silence and inaction because of this. Instead, we will continue to defend our rights to health, living wage, job security and protest corruption and policies which we think shall have detrimental effects not only for us, as government employees, but also for the public that we serve,” said Courage Secretary General Manuel Baclagon.

Text by JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Photo courtesy of Courage
(https://www.bulatlat.com)

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