By DAISY JANE APIT
Davao Today Intern
DAVAO CITY – Militant workers are set for the 128th Labor Day commemoration on May 1 when they would demand President Aquino for higher wages and more jobs.
They also criticized the president for the signing of a defense agreement as well as other policies that favored United States’ interests at the expense of Filipino workers.
In a press briefing last Monday, Kilusang Mayo Uno Secretary General Romualdo Basilio said they are going to the streets with local unions and sectoral groups to air their demands to the Aquino administration.
Joining KMU are the transport group Piston-Transmission, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Bayan, Lapanday Box and Plastic Plant Workers Union (LBPPWU) and Kadamay- Southern Mindanao,
Among their demands is a P 125 across the board wage increase, the abolition of the labor contractualization scheme and more employee benefits.
In a statement, Basilio said the last time government increased wages was two years ago at an amount of P15 and this has been offset with the surge of prices in commodities and services.
The current minimum wage for an employee at the service and non-agricultural sector in Davao is at P301 per day.
“Sa upat ka tuig niyang paghari, dili na niya matabunan ng paghikyad sa nagkagrabeng kalisod sa katawhan. (In his four-year reign, he cannot cover up the worsening conditions of the people),” said Basilio.
He blamed Aquino’s policies such as the private-public partnership that has resulted to high costs of public utilities and services.
Basilio also hit Aquino over the recent signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States during the visit of US President Barack Obama.
“The Aquino government continues to grovel at the feet of its imperial master, the US, by selling off our national patrimony, and today, by allowing the return of US bases in the country. Obama is not welcome in the Philippines, not now, not ever,” Basilio said.
Meanwhile, the RTWPB (Regional Tripartite and Wages Productive Board) Region 11 held a public hearing Monday to review the minimum wage with inputs given by both management and labor groups.
Maria Lourdes Lim, vice chair of the RTWPB and regional director of the National Economic Development Authority said they will come up with a “win-win” solution for both parties.
“We will also have to look into various conditions to be studied such as the inflation rate, cost of living, prices of basic commodities, economic growth and the threshold,“ said Lim.
“No Filipino or Dabawenyo shall be left behind as we grow as a national and regional economy,” Lim added.
KMU and other labor groups expressed that their current wages has been insufficient to support families and even to pay taxes.
Management groups have raised proposals such as exclusion of the sugar industry from wage increase. They also urged government to provide more employment and support to the agriculture sector.
Aside from Lim, the RTWPB is composed of Atty. Joffrey Suyao, regional director of the Department of Labor, Maria Belenda Ambi, Trade and Industry regional director; labor representatives Jorge Alegares and Virginia Camus; and management Representatives, Rulfo Asis and Atty. Bienvenido Carriaga.(davaotoday.com)