A string of major pro-labor policy pronouncements of President Rodrigo Dutert has restored optimism of workers with the government, according to the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).
“President Duterte is the knight in shining armor in the eyes of the working people right now. The President has raised the standards and elevated working class’ expectations. We believe Mr. Duterte could deliver and meet the standards with concrete results,” ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said on Sunday.
Earlier, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd announced that they are planning to equalize minimum wage rates in the country by increasing the national minimum wage next month.
“The President wants it. He instructed me to study how to standardize the salary in the provinces and in Metro Manila,” Bello said, adding that the DOLE would submit its recommendation to the President later this month.
According to the DOLE secretary, the disparity in minimum wage is one of the major reasons for urban migration, particularly Metro Manila, which pays the highest minimum wage among the 17 regions in the country.
The Labor department held a summit for all its regional directors and met all labor law enforcers in conducting inspection and assessment of all work establishments in the country to ensure compliance with general labor standards and occupational safety and health standards.
The summit particularly looked into the abusive practice of contractual work arrangements and the non-payment of lawful wages and social protection benefits.
Bello announced plans to repeal DOLE Department Order 18-A that allows the practice of contractualization, review the Philippine Labor Code in line with the Duterte administration’s target to ban all forms of contractualization and regularize all workers by January 2017.
He said the DOLE is planning to repeal Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Wage Act for being irresponsive to needs of workers and their families.
The repeal would mean the abolition of all wage boards that determine different levels of wages in regions.
“Current workers’ living conditions are getting poorer despite high economic growth in the country in the past decades. They have been left behind by the economy they helped build,” Tanjusay said.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL