By Leslie Ann Aquino
The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity backed the call of workers for wage increase.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo cited the rising cost of goods and commodities with the implementation of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) as reason.
“I support the workers asking for wage increase,” he said in an interview.
“The TRAIN Law makes life harder for the workers and the ordinary people,” added Pabillo.
The Manila prelate said the TRAIN Law should be junked and changed for more equitable Tax Law.
In the past, Pabillo lamented how almost everything is increasing except the pay of the workers.
“If this government wants inclusive growth, it should increase the pay of the workers,” he said at that time.
Pabillo added that if the government cannot grant a salary increase, it should provide other benefits to workers such as scrapping the contractualization of workers for them to be secure in their tenure.
Earlier, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) called on all regional wage boards to hold emergency meetings and adjust prevailing wage rates citing the increase in the prices of goods and commodities.
ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, meantime, renewed their call to President Duterte to approve their proposed P500 cash voucher subsidy for workers as a form of government safety net for workers affected by the eroding buying power of their daily minimum wage.
Along with the proposal, the ALU-TUCP also urged the 17 Regional Tripartite Productivity Board in the country to convene an emergency meeting and synchronized all wage rates to a uniform P800 across-the-board daily minimum wage for all workers nationwide.
“Let us not wait for the perfect storm to happen. Government must now mitigate the worsening plight of workers and their families by providing safety net while employers, on one hand, must immediately provide a substantial wage increase and save workers from falling into deeper destitution. These government and employers intervention are important measure to raise to P1,200 a day— a decent amount needed by a family to live above poverty threshold,” Tanjusay said.
“The wages should now be uniform rate because the poverty in Luzon is the same poverty felt by workers in Visayas and Mindanao. The prices of commodities are the same in every region so the salary should also be uniform,” he added.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he already directed the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board to convene and assess the impact of rising costs of goods on workers’s income and purchasing power upon the instruction of President Duterte.
“We are doing this to provide daily wage earners the capability to cushion the impact of spiraling prices if not totally recover the lost value of their income,” said Bello.