Just in time for Labor Day, presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo promised labor groups on Sunday, May 1, that she will raise the minimum wage of Filipino workers.
“Tataas ang minimim wage para mailapit ito sa kinakailangan para sa maayos na pamumuhay ng pamilya (The minimum wage will increase to get it closer to the needs of a family for better living),” she told thousands of members of different labor groups in the country.
Among these groups are the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), which endorsed Robredo’s tandem with Sen. Kiko Pangilinan for the first time in history, Piston, Migrante, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Alliance of Health Workers, among others.
Robredo said one of the first things she will do if she wins on May 9 is to ask the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPB) to begin working on this promise.
“Ako mismo ang tututok (I will be the one to focus),” she stressed, mentioning other proposed pro-laborer policies, such as the Anti-Age Discrimination Act, the labor laws and standards for occupational safety, and the ratification of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 190 that concerns violence and harassment in the workplace.
As part of her official platform for the economy, Robredo also explained the Public Employment Program and unemployment insurance she was proposing.
“Gobyerno na mismo ang magbibigay ng trabaho at sasalo sayo sa oras na kailangan mo (The government itself will provide work and catch you at a time you need),” she added.
Under her unemployment insurance program, employees who have worked in the past but have lost their jobs can get an equivalent of their salaries for three months.
If they have not found a job in those three months, the government can step in and help place them.
Depending on the city and province, the minimum wage in the country falls between P400 to P537 a day.
Workers have been asking for a wage hike because of the ballooning prices of fuel and goods.
Robredo said that her programs and plans for Filipino workers were born from continuous consultations with different groups.
“Hindi natin ugali ang basta-basta magpangako pero po ang commitment natin ang manggagawang Pilipino, malakas ang magiging tinig sa ating pamahalaan (We don’t have an attitude of promising aimlessly but our commitment is the Filipino workers will have a loud voice in our government),” she told the crowd.
“Ang gobyerno lagi kayo pakikinggan. Hindi lang ako kandidatong nanliligaw sa inyo. Kahanay niyo po ako, matagal nang kabalikat sa pagkilos (The government will always listen to you. I am not just a candidate who’s wooing you. I am your ally, long been with you in this movement),” the lone female presidential candidate added.
Both Robredo and Pangilinan mentioned senatorial aspirants Neri Colmenares and Elmer Labog, who both endorsed their tandem but are not official part of their senatorial slate.
This drew cheers from the audience, most of whom have fought alongside Colmenares and Labog.
In his speech, Pangilinan promised that he will be true to his campaign slogan, “Hello Pagkain, Goodbye Gutom (Hello Food Goodbye Hunger).”
“Titiyakin nating hello pagkain, goodbye gutom para sa mga manggagawa, para sa nagbabanat ng buto para tayo ay makakain (We will make sure hello food, goodbye hunger for our workers, for those who labor for our food),” he said.
The senator, who was once food security czar, gave homage to Filipino workers in farms, seas, agriculture, logistics, education, information technology, health, hotel and service industry, and entertainment or creative industry.
Meanwhile, senatorial aspirant and labor leader Sonny Matula, who is part of the Robredo-Pangilinan ticket, guaranteed that labor groups will “make history” by voting for the tandem on May 9.
“Workers and their unions will make a difference and will collectively vote for Leni and Kiko and their senatorial team,” he said.
“There is too much as stake in this coming elections for workers to stay mum. The biggest alliance of workers will make a political statement,” Matula noted.
The Labor Day event was organized by All4Leni and Workers for Leni, which is an alliance of Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, Alliance of Labor Leaders 4 Leni, KMU, and other workers’ groups.