The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) today deplores the absence of decency, justice, equity and fairness in our society. Despite the continuing growth of the economy, the wages and salaries of Filipino workers remain low and inadequate. Tens of millions of workers and employees belong to the “working poor” who are without any savings, are deeply indebted, deprived of so many good things in life, and are extremely vulnerable to economic shocks and uncertainties. Working jobs that are “precarious” in nature, these are the workers who have built the wealth of the last few years. The present administration refused to support the passageof the tax reform legislation which could have provided an additional, albeit modest amount, to the take-home pay of workers. It also betrayed the workers when the President vetoed the bill increasing the monthly pension of SSS pensioners by P2,000.
Moreover, living with already low income, our workers have to further squeeze-out their meager budget to pay for their monthly electricity the price of which remains the highest in Asia. In addition, instead of giving more subsidy to mass transportation system which our workers use every day to go to work, the government decided to withdraw all the subsidies to the MRT and LRT which resulted in the increase of fare. Add to that the dangers to life and limb who use our MRT/LRT. We don’t have universal and free health care system in the country. If a worker gets seriously sick, he must be prepared to just die. The practice of labor contractualization or hiring workers on time-bound contract had also widened. Tens of millions of work are under contractual arrangements, known as “endo contracts”, do not receive minimum wages, have no benefits and work in poor working conditions. The very nature of their insecure work arrangements means that they cannot join unions. Most of them are not also covered by social protection.
The situation of Filipino workers remains intolerable. We want the next administrationto improve the lives of workers and their families by putting back money into their hands and by providing them economic relief.We needsubstantial wage increases. We want the next Congress to pass the tax reform bill to reduce the taxes on workers’ income so that they will have more money in their pocket. We demand the next administration to increase the monthly pension of SSS pensioners by P2,000to help our elderly pensioners have more money to buy food and medicine. We want lower electricity rates in the country. The next Congress must amend the EPIRA and strengthen the regulatory capacity of the ERC.
Furthermore, we want the next government to put back the subsidy for MRT and LRT to decrease the existing fares and to improve the services of the said mass transportation systems.We also wish it to create a National Health Care System that will provide free and universal health care for all with a strong focus on public health and preventive care.
Most importantly, we want the new government to support the passage of the Security of Tenure bill to provide our workers security of employment which will give them all the advantages of being regular workers. Without regularization, workers have no SSS coverage, no Philhealth, no Pag-Ibig and no hope for a better life.
We in TUCP will mobilize all our resources to achieve our vision for all workers and our families. We will continue to struggle to build a more decent, inclusive, progressive, free and humane society.
We urge our social partners both in business and government to join us in reaching a new social contract under the new government.