Wednesday, May 25, 2005

NR0525:Malacanang trying to kill wage hike bill

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release May 25, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio,Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

P125 wage hike bill very much alive, but Malacanang
allies in the House trying to kill it - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today issued a challenge to Malacanang, saying that if it wants to kill the P125 wage hike bill in Congress, then it should issue a public statement saying that it is against the wage hike bill and that it is adamantly against any genuine wage increase for Filipino workers. "That way, Filipinos will know that it's President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself who is adamantly against giving workers the slightest economic relief. The President is totally devoid of any sympathy or compassion for workers while at the same time she extends all assistance to employers and big business groups," he said.

Beltran said that Malacanang and its allies in Congress were putting deliberations on HB 345, or the bill legislating a P125 across-the-board wage increase for workers nationwide, on hold. "The House leadership led by Speaker de Venecia and Majority Leader Prospero Nograles has been issuing statements to the media that the P125 wage bill is already dead. Well, it's not dead --- it's very much alive, but the pro-employer, pro-big business bloc in the House is trying to kill it. Despite the strong public clamor for a wage increase, Congress continues to thumb down HB 345 and refusing to make it a priority bill. "

The veteran labor leader said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's signing of the value-added tax measure yesterday is yet another urgent reason why an across-the-board wage hike is necessary for the Filipino people. "The impact of the VAT law will be across-the-board, sparing no one. Prices will once more increase because of the VAT; this on top of the increases already being caused by the relentless oil price hikes and increases in electricity rates."

Beltran also said that the temporary suspension of a P2 fare increase was a victory for consumers and commuters, but it might not last long. "There is no way that public utility vehicle drivers and the their transport groups will be able to cope with the oil price hikes and so they will still be forced to eventually demand a fare hike, and where will that leave commuters who mostly belong to the laboring sectors? Without a wage increase, a P2 fare hike means heavier economic burdens for many workers and their families," he said.

Beltran said that because of the impending fare hike, the impact of the additional VAT, and increase in electricity rates, Filipinos will need an additional P436 for their needs beginning June 1. Because of the new VAT alone, families will need P271 more a month," he said.

He also pointed out that because of the Energy Regulatory Commission's (ERC) approval of the NAPOCOR and PSALM's rate hike petition, effective June 1, consumers will be charged an additional P1.04 per kilowatthour, oe P52 for every 50 kilowatt hour monthly consumption.

"So what other reasons and justifications does Malacanang and its allies in Congress need to hear? Filipinos need a substantial wage hike now, and not platitudes or excuses. It's not only just an issue of social justice, it's a matter of survival for many Filipinos whose health and general welfare are already seriously under threat because of high costs of living," he said. "The excuses of the House leadership are appalling and heartless. If they want to kill the wage hike bill, let them be the ones to face the Filipino people and accept their judgment," he said.#


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