Monday, May 01, 2006

GMA evading and glossing over real problems faced by workers

From the Office of Anakpawis Reperesentative Crispin Beltran
Room 602, South Wing, House of Representatives, Quezon City
Lisa Ito, Public Information Officer (0927-7067006)

May 1, 2006

Beltran on GMA's Labor Day announcements:
GMA evading and glossing over real problems faced by workers,
promised benefit packages will not make a dent in the lives of the toiling masses

Anakpawis Congressman Crispin Beltran outrightly dismissed Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's May 1 promises announced earlier this morning as "all empty air amounting to nothing", saying that "the President's promises would not a make a dent in the lives of the toiling and starving masses".

Speaking from Room 427 of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC), Beltran said that Arroyo is merely trying to "evade and gloss over the real problems faced by millions of Filipino workers and their families: absurdly low minimum wages that only amount to half of the average daily cost of living of P675.00, record-breaking levels of hunger and unemployment nationwide, chronic lack of access to basic social services such as affordable health care, and brute political suppression of workers' democratic rights".

Beltran said that "if GMA is truly concerned about the welfare of the Filipino working class, she would have supported the six-year call for a legislated P125 across-the-board wage increase for private sector workers and a P3,000 across-the-board salary increase for government employees from Day One of her Presidency".

"GMA, however, attempts to deceive Filipino workers with non-wage benefits. While non-wage benefits may temporarily allay hunger pangs, these have no significant long-term impact on many other workers' benefits that are tied to one's wage levels," Beltran said.

"GMA's affirmation of support for a "reasonable wage hike to be hammered out by the Tripartite Regional Wage and Productivity Boards (TRWPB) is tantamount to saying that we workers should not expect a significant wage increase", as these regional wage boards have been historically used as instruments to deflect and delay the institutionalization of significant wage hikes. Ipapaasa lang tayo ng mga ito sa wala," Beltran said.

"It seems that the only wage hike GMA favors is a paltry "wage hike" based on what loose change rapacious corporate powers are wiling to give, instead of a wage hike aiming to bring current minimum wage levels to par with the estimated daily costs of living".

Beltran also slammed GMA for her veiled threat against so-called destabilizers, saying that "she should be the one to quit the political maneuverings and truly serve the people by stepping down."

"Stepping down from her Palace throne and facing the crimes she has committed against the Filipino people will be GMA's greatest way of serving the people, by providing a precedent for other corrupt, illegitimate, and draconian heads of state," Beltran said.

"Instead, GMA continues to paint the broadening peoples' call for her ouster as a plot by destabilizers that should be quelled by brute force, political harassment, and deception," Beltran said. ###


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