DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The progressive Makabayan coalition refiled various bills on the 18th Congress’ opening last Monday focusing on increase salaries for teachers and employees, along with increase in pensions for retirees.
The Bayan Muna Party-list filed 30 bills, among them is the bill seeking a P750 national minimum wage, a P16,000 minimum salary for government employees, as well as measures for an increase in SSS pension and social pension.
“Bayan Muna and the whole Makabayan bloc hope that these measures be prioritized because these are the ones that heavily impact the lives of the Filipino people,” the party-list said in their statement.
The P750 national minimum wage comes in response to labor groups who said the regionalized minimum wage system implemented by the government fails to address the need for just wages that will meet their families’ basic needs amidst high prices of commodities.
ACT Teachers Party-list also refiled House Bill 219 that aims to raise the entry-level salary of public-school teachers to P30,000 a month and the salary of regular entry-level government employees to P16,000.
Also included in its measure is the increase of Personnel Economic Relief Allowance to all government employees from P2,000 per month to P5,000.
“Our teachers are only asking that they be given salaries that can provide them and their families decent lives. With the increasing workload of our teachers and the increasing cost of living, it is only just that they also be prioritized by the state,” ACT Teachers Representative France Castro said.
The solon hoped this year, the move to increase teachers’ salary will not just be merely a promise that has long been kept by President Rodrigo Duterte. “Concrete steps” need to be taken, she said.
Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) also filed 10 bills, including one that seeks to junk the Rice Tarification Law, “due to its disastrous impact on farmers and poor households.”
The Law, passed earlier this year, opens the economy to cheaper imported rice, which threatens the livelihood of local farmers who have not received subsidies from the government.
“The Rice Tariffication Law sets forth the sharp drop in the farm-gate prices of palay which threatens the livelihood of our farmers, as well as the phaseout of the cheaper NFA rice which poor Filipino families rely on. That’s why we want to immediately repeal the law to provide relief to millions of Filipino families,” Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said.
As an alternative, GWP filed the Rice Industry Development Act (RIDA), previously filed by Anakpawis Party-list, which would ensure support for Filipino farmers and to boost the local rice production by mandating the identification of rice zones across the country.
GWP also filed a measure for the repeal of VAT (value-added tax) on oil and other products.
“We need to reverse the neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization and anti-poor taxation that lie at the root of steep prices of basic commodities and corporate orientation of social services,” Brosas said.
Bayan Muna also filed a bill to repeal the Duterte administration’s TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) Law, which they blamed for the increase of prices on basic goods and services that has burdened the consumers. (davaotoday.com)