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Militants seek P125 wage hike

Posted on: May 2, 2009

Militants seek P125 wage hike

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 21:59:00 05/01/2009

Filed Under: Labor, Wages & Pensions, Protest

MANILA, Philippines – Over a thousand members of militant groups from Luzon, together with counterparts abroad, staged a rally on Labor Day to demand a P125 across the board wage increase for workers nationwide.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) National Capital Region chairman Roy Velez slammed the alternatives offered by the administration and instead urged for the government to stop retrenchments across local industries and demolition of houses in certain parts of Manila.

“House, lot, jobs – these should be given to us by the government. With the present administration, we have long demanded for a P125 wage increase across the board nationwide but our calls have fallen on deaf ears. Weak job policies of the government is allowing continuous poverty and unemployment in the country,” said Velez in Filipino.

Velez said that instead of providing band-aid solutions such as the P330 billion stimulus package, “Jobapalooza” job fairs, and intensified labor-export policy, the government should help secure its workers by strengthening support for homegrown industries and giving adequate benefits and security policies.

Presently jobless, Velez was retrenched in April 2006 when Philips’ local arm laid off workers due to oversupply of semiconductor chips in the global industry.

“Karamihan rin sa ating mga manggagawa napapasama sa demolisyon ng mga bahay, dapat itigil na iyang mga yan [Most of our labor workers also suffer from demolition of houses in different parts of Manila, which should be stopeed],” Velez added.

He noted that the demolitions largely due to infrastructure projects notably in Caloocan City, C5 extentsion and the Pasig Floodway, only resulted into homeless families who were estimated to have reached 100,000.

Minors also joined the rally despite the no-minor policy of police.

To this Velez said in Filipino: “The participation of the youth in rallies is driven by their daily experience of poverty. With that no-minor policy they are underestimating our youth.”

He noted that Akap Bata is also educating these minors on political issues to keep them involved in the struggles of the common Juan dela Cruz.

Kilusang Mayo Uno and Bayan opted to visit detained Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada for his message for the group.

But after Manila Police Inspector Cresencio Viray told the group, led by Representative Teodoro Casiño that the police could only accommodate one to five rallyists, the group marched directly to Liwasang Bonifacio.

Casiño agreed with Viray that he would visit Lozada later because with the mass of rallyists, it would be impossible to talk to Lozada.

Starting at 1 p.m., the groups marched from different points in Manila and converged at Liwasang Bonifacio where they held a program, including the burning of effigies that symbolized the poor labor policies in the country.

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