The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)-Nagkaisa has submitted to the government its proposed discount-card and unemployment-insurance programs for minimum-wage workers for approval by President Benigno Aquino 3rd during the traditional Labor Day breakfast with labor groups to be hosted by Aquino in Malacañang on May 1.
“We have submitted to President Aquino our agenda on the May 1 breakfast meeting agenda. These are what we believe as amelioration programs aimed at empowering workers to cope with rising cost of living,” Gerard Seno, the group’s executive vice president said over the weekend.
The group had also proposed to Aquino to approve a majority coconut-farmer administered trust fund to ensure that proceeds from the P77-billion coconut levy fund are used to promote jobs in the coconut industry and set up coco-industrial hubs; ensure completion of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with respect to lands under current notice of coverage; assist farmers through appropriate support measures and financing including training, appropriate technology and easy-term credit; return of subsidy for Metro rail Transit 3 and Light Rail Transit 1 and LRT 2 users to cushion rising costs for ordinary workers; and pass the Freedom of Information bill.
The Labor Enhancement Assistance Program seeks an unemployment insurance policy for the 3.4 million minimum wage earners, providing them three months of minimum wage salary coverage in cases of retrenchment; and a minimum discount card that serves as a voucher for minimum wage employees, giving them a monthly discount of P2,000 on tuition, purchase of rice, basic food commodities and medicines.
On March 1 to 7, a Pulse Asia survey on urgent national concerns showed that 4 of the top 5 concerns relate to daily survival needs of ordinary Filipinos. It found that 46 percent cried out at inflation, 44 percent said salaries are too small to cover daily expenses and 34 percent said there are no decent jobs.
On March 18, the wage board approved a P15-increase in the minimum wage in Metro Manila as against the TUCP-Nagkaisa petition of P136.
TUCP-Nagkaisa executive director Louie Corral said they had asked the President to tap the reported P300 billion in excess government funds in 2014 to finance the proposed unemployment insurance and the discount card programs.