Monday, January 17, 2005

NR0117: The opposition should unite behind the P125

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release January 17, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

All Labor Groups and members of the Political Opposition should support the
P125 wage hike demand and pressure the Arroyo administration
to declare a wage increase - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran said that all labor organizations from
the radical to the conservative should unite and demand that Congress
immediately act on the P125 across-the-board wage hike bill. The bill which
passed the committee level early in August last year is up for second reading
in Congress.He expressed welcome to the support to the P125 bill by other labor
groups apart from the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) who lead the campaign for the wage
increase outside the halls of Congress. He said that groups such as the Alliance
of Progressive Labor (APL) and others should put their collective strength and
support the P125 wage hike bill.

"The Macapagal-Arroyo administration and its allies in Congress have long been
evading their responsibility to workers and legislate a wage hike. Their
excuses that a wage hike is inflationary have been exposed as bunk: prices of
basic commodities continue to increase despite the fact that wages remain
pegged to the floor, and the actual purchasing power of workers wages continue
to shrink. A P125 wage increase added to the current minimum wage, but is will
at least provide immediate economic relief. Something to extend the gasping
budgets of most working families and help them cope with the relentless series
of oil price hikes, increasing electricity rates and sky-rocketing prices of
most basic commodities. Also , if Malacanang succeeds in railroading its
infamous tax bills, heavier burdens are in store for consumers and the rest of
the working people."

Beltran expressed regret over the excuses of the administration and its allies
who justify the immediate passage of the tax bills. "Their arguments are so
transparently pro-business and anti-poor. They have no qualms whatsoever about
the direct negative impact of the new tax measures on the common folk, but they
profess to be alarmed over what the business community, foreign investors, and
the International Monetary Fun (IMF) will say if the tax bills are not
approved," he said.

"Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo and her government show little or no compassion for the
countless problems of the poor and the working people. Conditions continue to
worsen, but the government's policies and programs not only ignore the
situation, but even contribute to the exacerbation of these conditions. The tax
measures should be junked, and instead, bills and measures that seek to
alleviate the people's poverty should be the ones prioritized and immediately
passed and implemented," he said.

The Opposition led by Angara, Lacson should unite for the P125 wage bill

In the meantime, Beltran challenged members of the opposition including those
allied with the camp of ex-president Joseph Estrada. He said that the
Opposition should rally behind the P125 wage hike bill and thereby do something
concrete and gainful for their impoverished followers. "The Opposition should
support the P125 wage hike bill and challenge the Macapagal-Arroyo
administration to prioritize it above her own, infamous tax measures," he said.
He urged Senators Edgardo Angara and Panfilo Lacson, both acknowledge leaders of
the opposition, to put their political difference aside even temporarily and
support the wage hike campaign of workers. He said that Pres. Arroyo's refusal
to legislate a much needed wage increase was potentially a strong issue wherein
the opposition can unite the Filipino people.

"It is also our hope that the members of the Minority in the House would also
stand firmly behind the wage hike bill. As for the members of the Majority,
even if the wagehike bill is not a bill of the administration we hope that they
will see it in their hearts and consciences to vote in favor of it for the
common good of the people,' he concluded.#


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