Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis party-list Representative and labor leader Ariel Ka Ayik Casilao lambasted the P21-wage hike issued by the National Capital Regional Wage Board (NCR – RWB) and labeled it as crumbs and treating the Filipino workers as beggars. It also served the interest of the private sector, especially the oligarchic big businesses as it is designed as “cold water to put the fire out” of workers’ discontent that led to broad call to end contractualization of labor. He also accused President Rodrigo Duterte of betraying the poor sectors as it is obviously not the “change” or reform he promised during his presidential campaign.
“This measly wage hike will only end up to the possession of usurers, big businesses, the government and even the foreign financial institutions such as the World Bank,” Casilao said.
He justified as poor workers are already living in debt, facing inflationary prices of basic goods and services, burdened with assorted taxation to be worsened by the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN. He added that the increase is pathetic as the real value of the preceeding P491 minimum wage for the region was only pegged at P354.
“The increase could not even enable you to travel from Taft Avenue to Santolan fared with P24 at the MRT, while labor productivity in the region is astronomical,” the lawmaker said.
Labor productivity in the NCR is pegged at more the P1 million per worker per year, or the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) apportioned to the number of employed. Daily productivity could reach to more than P3,200.
“P512 versus the value created by the workers at more than P3,000 is an exhibition of wage-slavery by foreign monopoly, and it is upsetting that the President is now the primary defender of this exploitative economic relations,” Casilao said.
Instead, he urged the workers across the country to resolutely fight for P750 national minimum wage, end labor contractualization and oppose the current proposal for a compressed work week. He pressed those who are in labor dispute to link with the national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and contractual or irregular workers to join Kilos Na! Manggawa. They could also join the Anakpawis Party-list, to push for congressional intervention on their plight.
“Poor workers need not expect any from the president as he already abandoned his promises for fundamental reforms and he is now on the camp of the oligarchs, we have nothing but our consolidated unity and strength to concretely accomplish these goals,” he ended. ###