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DEMAND: for P 16,000 minimum wage, possible ba? Sapat ba?

Anakpawis Partylist representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap expressed support to the recently launched campaign demanding P16,000 “national” minimum wage for both private and public sector workers yesterday at the National Printing Office in Quezon city. The campaign is led by All Workers’ Unity composed of various workers groups under Kilusang Mayo Uno, Courage, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (Act), Alliance of Health Workers (Ahw), Water System Employees Response (Water), League of Local Government Employees (League), Judiciary Employees Association (Judea) and National Federation of Employees’ Associations of Dept. of Agriculture (Nafeda).

“Sinasaluduhan namin ang mga samahang manggagawang nangunguna rito dahil ito ay kagyat at makatarungan,” [We commend the workers organizations that lead this campaign which is very urgent and socially just,] Hicap said.

The workers groups based their demand from the P1,086 per day “family living wage” (flw) computed by the independent thinktank Ibon foundation, multiplied by 30 days then halved. In addition, the partylist group has filed House Bill 253 or the P125 wage increase across the board nationwide, the House Bill 3015 or the P6,000 salary increase for public sector workers and House Bill 246 or upgrading the minimum salary of public school teachers from salary grade 12 to 16. In the National Capital Region, the minimum wage for private sector workers is set at P466 per day while P9,000 per month for public sector workers on salary grade 1.

“Walang debate na ang manggagawang Pilipino ay humaharap sa pinakamalalang kahirapan sa kasaysayan ng bansa, ang kanyang sweldo ay malinaw na hindi sapat sa pangangailangan ng pamilya,” [There is no debate that the Filipino worker is facing the deepest poverty in our country’s history, his or her daily wage is obviously deficient for the family’s needs,] Hicap said.

The group said that they join the workers’ demand to repeal Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act of 1989, that created the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB). Since its inception, the RTWPB has been the powerful body determining the varying levels of minimum wage for the regions in the country.

“Kailangang maigpawan ng masang manggagawa ang panghahating ibinunga ng RA 6727, at magkaisa ang mga manggagawa mula sa iba’t ibang rehiyon tungong pambansang antas,” [It is essential for the working masses to overcome the disunity resulted by RA 6727 and the national unity of workers from different regions must be forged,” said Hicap.

Anakpawis added that this is “another great stride in the national and democratic struggle to cast the iron-strong unity of the Filipino working class,” towards “liberating the surplus value created by hard labor from the parasitic character of monopoly capitalism or imperialism,” in order to be utilized or re-invested for nationalist industrialization and development.

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