Monday, January 16, 2006

NR0116: Pass P125 wage hike bill now!

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602.
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer
Cellphone number 09277967006, 931-6615
News Release January 16, 2006. Monday.

Rep. Beltran challenges House to finally pass P125 wage hike bill for 2006, says Congress should recognize workers’ six-year struggle for higher wages by legislating the long-awaited pay hike

Citing the six-year clamor for a significant wage increase and the record-breaking double-digit levels of hunger in the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) surveys, Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran today challenged fellow solons from the Lower House to support and finally pass priority bill House Bill (HB) 00345 or AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A P125.00 DAILY ACROSS-THE-BOARD INCREASE IN THE SALARY RATES OF EMPLOYEES AND WORKERS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES which is currently on its second reading.

Rep. Beltran reiterated this call as hundreds of workers from various labor groups congregated outside the Batasang Pambansa at around 1 PM for a picket-protest demanding the immediate passage of the wage hike bill and the rejection of proposals for Charter Change and the Anti-Terrorism Bill.

“The nationwide struggle for a P125 wage hike has taken a long and arduous route before reaching the Lower House. This bill was produced by painstaking struggle and sacrifice, six years ago in the parliament of the streets in August 1999, when labor groups affiliated with the Kilusang Mayo Uno first called for a P125 across-the-board nationwide wage increase due to the glaring disparity between the wages and costs of living back then,” Rep. Beltran emphasized.

“Clearly, the daily costs of living have risen twofold since 1999. An ordinary wage-earner needed at least P460 to meet his family’s basic needs six years ago: now, one needs to cough up at least P667.20 to meet those same basic needs. Yet, wage levels now have never substantially deviated nor appreciated from the wage levels of 1999. Nothing has basically changed with regards to workers' wages and welfare,” Beltran noted.

“The SWS survey results on the incidence of hunger in the country attest to the deplorable and unbearable state the toiling masses are in. According to the SWS, the Philippines has incurred its highest record of severe hunger so far in the past eight years, with 16.7% of the population going hungry. That enough is reason to finally grant immediate relief to our workers in the form of a P125 wage hike,” Beltran said.

“It would be a gross violation of human rights to deny any longer the long-awaited pay increase. The last mandated wage increase was a measly P25.50 in the year 2000, during the second year of deposed Pres. Estrada’s term. Yet the Arroyo administration has proved to be even more callous and heartless by denying 16 million workers nationwide the right to a wage increase for the past five years, despite the record-breaking prevalence of hunger, soaring oil and food prices, E-VAT, inflation, labor unrest over low wages, unjustifiable power and water rate hikes, and the brutal massacres and suppression of workers asserting their rights to a living wage,” the veteran labor leader said.

Rep. Beltran is set to deliver a privilege speech on the prospects of the Filipino toiling masses for 2006 this afternoon, where he will end with the call for the immediate passage of HB 00345. ##


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