By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — “The high incidence of hunger in the country only shows how the so-called additional Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) boasted by the Aquino government failed to aid the lives of the poor especially the impoverished workers.”
ANAKPAWIS-Cordillera spokesperson Michael Cabangon reiterated.
Based on Social Weather Station (SWS) data at present the hunger incidence is 21.5% or in concrete totals to 4.3 million families nationwide.
The survey is said to be 7.5 points higher than the 13-year average of 14%.
Cabangon said it is the highest under the present administration. “Kasapulan a talaga ti maysa a pudpudno a panangipangato iti suweldo,” (A genuine wage hike is really needed) he added.
In a statement, Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1st movement or KMU) said that the SWS survey released on October 27 shows that one out of five households in the country go hungry in the last three months.
“The masses are going hungry, it’s time for a significant wage hike,” the KMU statement stressed.
According to KMU National Chairperson Elmer Labog, the survey confirms what the labor group had been monitoring among workers and poor people that the COLA granted by Aquino government in various regions starting last May failed to provide immediate relief from poverty and hunger. “Workers’ wages are too meager to help them counteract hunger,” he said.
On the month of May, the Aquino government through the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) approved a P22 additional COLA in the National Capital region.
The RTWPB-Cordillera Administrative Region granted a P12 COLA increase.
Cabangon said that the minimum wage here in the region is P272 while the required amount for a family of six to survive is P790 a day. He stressed that there is a big gap between the actual wage of the Filipino worker and the standard cost of living.
“Talaga a manaynayunan ti bilang a dagiti saanen a makapangan ti mamitlo iti maysa nga aldaw nu saan a talaga a denggen ti gobyerno ti dawat a nayon a suweldo”, (The number of the people who have nothing to eat will shoot up if the government will continue not listening to the workers’ demand for a wage increase, Cabangon iterated.
Labog said that the workers have been calling for the government to approve a significant wage hike. He said that one form of which is the P125 across-the-board wage hike which the labor group is demanding since August 25, 1999.
It was first filed in the congress by then Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Crispin Beltran as House Bill 345 and was again filed by present Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano as HB 375.
Labog said they are calling on the Philippine congressmen to prioritize HB 375 and to Aquino to make the bill one of the government’s top priorities. “More stomachs shouting for food will definitely translate into more workers and poor people marching in the streets and calling for a significant wage hike,” he said.
He added that the labor movement vow to carry on and even intensify the campaign for a significant wage hike these coming weeks. # nordis.net