By DAWN CECILIA PEÑA
MANILA – A progressive labor group is raising concerns over the lack of cash aid for those affected by the scheduled reverting to stricter mobility restrictions on Friday as prices of liquefied petroleum gas and food continue to soar.
Kilusang Mayo Uno said financial aid is necessary as LPG prices had a P3.35 ($0.067), per kilogram increase on Aug. 1, or nearly a dollar for an 11-kilogram tank.
“The almost one dollar increase is too much for workers. Our purchasing power has already diminished by $2, and yet our demands for a $2 daily wage subsidy continue to fall on deaf ears. What can we buy now with our meager earnings,” asked KMU Secretary General Jerome Adonis in a statement.
The Department of Trade and Industry approved a three to five-percent price hike on basic necessities and prime commodities. This entailed a P0.75 to P1 ($0.015 to $0.020) increase per can of sardines among others.
The increase will be the first adjustment in two years, since the last suggested retail prices were issued in September 2019.
The trade department said it is still assessing pricing requests for canned goods, instant noodles, coffee, creamer, and condiments, and has since pushed back the imminent price increase of these products as the country is, once again, put under strict quarantine protocol.
“We decided to postpone the issuance of the SRP [suggested retail price]. Definitely, no price movements during the ECQ period,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Earlier today, the presidential spokesperson said the government will tap “savings” from government agencies for the much-needed aid. The labor department, on the other hand, said they lack funds to spend for aid and other programs for Filipino workers.
Adonis insisted that “along with price freezes, the government must immediately hand out financial aid before the start of the ECQ to better assist families amid the rising prices of goods and services.”
He also urged Congress to pass legislation in relation to P10,000 ($200) financial assistance for all families, P100 ($2) daily wage subsidy for workers, paid pandemic leave, and other social protection measures to assist distressed Filipinos. (JJE, RVO)