VARIOUS labor groups on Wednesday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to drop the proposed Charter change and instead focus on poverty eradication, increasing people’s pay and promoting job security.
“The pervasiveness of poverty as a result of low wages, high prices of goods and services, unemployment and lack of quality jobs cannot be swept under the rug by a more sensational war on drugs, the ambitious plan to build-build-build, or by shifting our form of government into federalism,” Partido Manggagawa chairman Rene Magtubo said.
He made his statement even as Senator Bam Aquino urged the government to listen to the Filipino people in light of the latest Pulse Asia survey showing increasing workers’ pay and checking galloping inflation were some of the public’s major concerns.
“Let us listen to the sentiments of Filipinos who are burdened with th high cost of goods and insufficient income,” said Aquino who has visited a number of communities to hear their concerns on the rising prices of goods.
The survey conducted by Pulse Asia from March 23 to 28 showed that 50 percent of the respondents mentioned salary increase as the most urgent issue while 45 percent pointed to inflation.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines and the Kilusang Mayo Uno said workers needed a more substantial wage hike and not Charter change, which they claimed would never change the economic status of the country if graft and corruption continued.
The labor groups are also preparing for a big rally on May 1, Labor Day and dubbed their program as “Chicha, hindi Chacha”.
“For three consecutive years now, working class issues such as a wage hike, controlling inflation, reducing poverty and job creation remained as the Filipinos top concerns while Charter change or Chacha is at the bottom of the list,” Magtubo said.
Chicha is Filipino slang for food, but for the labor group, its meaning expands to other rights and entitlements that enable workers to raise their standard of living.
The labor groups also assailed the government’s inaction on inflation and its pro-endo policy.
“Poverty concerns had always been in need of immediate action and unless addressed in a holistic manner, these issues will continue to hound any administration, one of the groups said.
Magtubo said the failure of President Rodrigo Duterte and his Congress to stop contractualization, abolish the regional wage boards, and to control the rising prices of goods and services due to the imposition of new taxes would always be viewed by the working class as a regression rather than an improvement in their quality of life.
The labor groups also cited the recent Pulse Asia survey conducted between March 23 and 28, 2018 showing that a wage hike, controlling inflation and reducing poverty were the top three concerns while Charter change landed last in the list with only 3 percent of Filipinos demanding immediate action for it from the President.
Magtubo said the three issues would be expressed by millions of workers during Labor Day.