P25 wage increase, abuse and cruel deed

From the present P512 minimum wage rate in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) approved an additional P25 to increase the wage to P 537.

The P25 wage increase is an abuse of authority and a cruel deed of the oppressors against the workers in the NCR and even nationwide. What would a person buy or spend with P25 pesos?

Ibon foundation says the cost of living for a family of six amounts to P1,168. This only includes expenses on basic needs and does not cover education, health, housing, etc. Given the P537 wage in NCR (the highest in the country), if there are two workers in a family receiving the law-mandated minimum wage will find it hard to make ends meet. The sadder truth behind the low minimum wage in the country is that 80% of workers in Metro Manila are contractual, and contractual workers receive lower than the minimum wage that should be received by regular workers and possibly no benefits.

How much a worker ought to receive a day for a living? The Kilusang Mayo Uno calls for a wage increase of P750 wage increase across the board nationwide, a freeze on oil prices, and a uniform minimum wage nationwide. The P 25 increase is inconsequential, especially as the government prepares for more tax increases in the following year. Increases of taxes mean increases also of the basic commodities and public service fees.

NCR National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) Executive director Criselda Sy’s statement that “the wage board considered the points raised by both employers and employees”  is mendacious.

What are “the points raised”? Who raise “the points”?

The workers had already attested that they are suffering from low wages and lack of benefits because of contructualization. The suffering of the workers had worsened because of the inflation rate and excessive taxes on basic commodities wrought about by the TRAIN Law, and now the fare increase.

The wage increase is “measly” or small according to Roman Catholic Bishops Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao and Broderick Pabillo of Manila.  But the two bishops cannot also tell how much a worker ought to receive a day. It is positive that Bishop Ongtioco recognized that “ordinary workers deserve to receive more,” to “cover the cost of the rise of prices,” as Bishop Pabillo had asserted. They are still praying that the government will reconsider increasing worker’s wage. If the Duterte administration will listen to the prayers of the Bishops, then miracles are still working even today.

But how can a government that favors the employers will listen to the cry of the poor workers?

The Catholic Catechism on Labor defined Human dignity as:

“All of us enjoy an equal dignity for we are all created in the image of one God”

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1934).

“Factory workers, farm workers, jeepney drivers, tricycle drivers, vendors, all have equal dignity with business owners, land owners, managers, and government leaders. As human persons, whatever our work, we have ―rights and duties which are universal and inviolable… and must have ready access to all that is necessary for living a genuinely human life: for example, food, clothing, housing, … the right to education, and work…”

(Gaudium et Spes, 26).

The Duterte regime continues to fail to apply these social teachings. President Rodrigo Duterte continues to demonstrate that he has no moral authority to lead this country. He is already judged by the injustices, abuses and cruelties amid the suffering of the Filipino people.

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