Lawmaker rues lack of aggressive push for P125 legislated wage hike


Filipino workers should aggressively push for the passage of the legislated P125 across-the-board legislated wage hike, a lawmaker representing farmers said Thursday.

Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis party-list made the strong call on workers in celebration of Labor Day, saying that the time has come for a decisive action since the basic workers’ rights have been ignored by the employers and government.

“The workers are the producers of social wealth and yet they are among the most impoverished. Their families are poor and hungry. They cannot send their children to school. They survive on a hand-to-mouth existence. Workers should unite and demand for a national legislated wage increase, job security, humane working condition in workplaces and union rights,” Hicap said in a statement.

Hicap is the author of House Bill 253 which seeks the granting of P125 across-the-board legislated wage increase for workers in the private sector.

Hicap’s proposal have been pending in Congress for over a decade, and it was only the Makabayan bloc of legislators who have vigorously pushed for such measure. Makabayan bloc includes party-list lawmakers from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Kabataan and Anakpawis.

Boxing great and multi-millionaire Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao of Sarangani, who was dirt poor and worked on odd jobs before he made his name in boxing as the only boxer in history to win eight titles in eight different weight classes, supports the P125 across-the-board legislated wage hike and has actively pushed for it.

Unfortunately, Pacquiao’s support wasn’t enough to stir support for the measure.

“We encourage workers to conduct massive lobbying and actions in Congress to press for a legislated wage increase. Actions from factories, offices and economic zones must converge in the streets to strongly highlight workers’ demands,” Hicap pointed out.

“It’s high time for workers to fight and take back what is rightfully theirs. All labor groups and organizations must unite and fight for a national legislated wage increase to replace the regionalized wage settings that have nailed wage levels to the basement floor,” Hicap added.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., admitted that much is yet to be done for Filipino workers, saying that there should be programs that will improve the quality of the country’s human resources.

Belmonte said that human resource development is intertwined with, among other socio-economic concerns, programs on health, education and technology development, agriculture and food production, peace and security, environment protection, human rights, and the intensifying fight against corruption in all levels of the bureaucracy.

“We should not stagnate and remain as a nation of factory workers, or be satisfied with being workers of foreign companies. We should already be laying down the foundations for creating a quality human resource of entrepreneurs, technology specialists and developers, inventors and other economic production leaders,” Belmonte said in a separate statement. LLANESCA T. PANTI


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