The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has appealed to the government to provide an P11,000 monthly wage subsidy to the "new poor" workers severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
In observance of Bonifacio Day Monday, the labor group sought financial aid for the millions of workers who lost their jobs as well as those forced into “no work, no pay” arrangement since the pandemic hit the country.
The monthly financial support is among the proposals seeking to improve workers’ welfare mentioned by the TUCP as the country commemorated the 157th birth anniversary of revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio. Other proposals to the government include increased infrastructure spending and economic stimulus programs to save and create jobs.
"TUCP notes that while there are financial assistance programs for the poorest-of-the-poor and Overseas Filipino Workers, clearly the formal sector workers are not being sufficiently supported. Millions have totally lost their jobs, millions more are on 'no work, no pay' arrangements. Other millions are now into job-sharing arrangements," TUCP party-list Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza said in a statement.
“We therefore call on the government to meanwhile provide for a monthly wage subsidy or monthly financial assistance of P11,000. These workers are no longer the emerging middle class. These workers are now the new poor," the TUCP said.
Mendoza made the proposal after noting that companies could no longer subsidize their workers since they are also in dire straits.
He said extending financial aid to the workers will help stimulate economic growth due to the boost in consumption of goods and services. "This way, we keep our people alive, and keep our economy afloat,” he said.
The labor organization also urged the government to create job opportunities by pursuing massive infrastructure projects. Government spending on projects such as the national railways system, regional agri-industrial hubs, construction of farm-to-market roads must be intensified, the TUCP added.
“Putting our people back to work through public construction is the first step out of joblessness,” Mendoza said.
The TUCP likewise asked the government to increase the financial stimulus package to better help the economy recover from the pandemic.
The group noticed that the government had a smaller budget allocation for economic recovery, compared to other countries that set aside more than 5 percent of their gross domestic products (GDPs) to ensure their survival.
TUCP Vice President Luis Corral said the government should listen to the warning of business leaders who claimed that relaxing quarantine restrictions won't be enough to stimulate economic growth.
"To our economic managers we say: Enough of wishful thinking. Aggressive government spending now at this crucial juncture is the order of the day to save Filipino lives, to save and create jobs, and to build back better, faster and in a more systematic, programmatic way,” Corral said.