Raise pay, regularize workers – Anakpawis

Anakpawis is supporting the call for a P750 national minimum wage. (Anakpawis image)

A couple of days before the commemoration of the International Labor Day, Anakpawis party-list Ariel Casilao on Friday urged the Duterte government to grant a pay hike and the regularization of millions of Filipino workers.

“Granting a pay hike and regularizing work will make a breathing space for workers to cope with the unabated skyrocketing of basic goods and services. The prevailing P454 daily minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) is not enough for a family of five as the prices of food and services continue to rise. These on top of the looming adverse effect of the new tax measures that allow additional taxes to previously non-taxable products. This includes diesel which Congress is set to approve,” Casilao said.

According to Ibon Foundation, an estimated 24.4 million or around 63 percent of total employed workers in the country that need these measures and provide a decent living to the workers and their families. Ibon suggested that a worker should earn P1,119 a day to fully support his/her family’s daily needs.

“This coming Labor Day, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reportedly will give financial aid to workers. While this is notable, the Labor Department should go beyond token gestures by heeding the real and immediate demand of the workers by raising their daily take home pay. Anakpawis is supporting the call for a P750 national minimum wage,” the Anakpawis solon also said.

Aside from raising basic take home pay, Casilao further said that the government should put an end to contractualization. He said that contractual employment is an employment strategy that aggravates domestic unemployment by destroying regular and permanent jobs while exposing contractual or temporary workers to substandard and inhumane working conditions. In general, contractualization is aimed at pressing down workers’ wages and increasing capitalists’ profits.

Casilao, a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Labor and Employment filed House Bill 556, An Act Prohibiting the Practice of Labor Contractualization and Promoting Regular Employment. Aside from ending ENDO practice, the bill also includes a provision that seeks higher fines and penal punishment to all employers that continuously practice contractual work scheme once enacted into law.

Majority of the 37.6 million Filipino workers are employed under contractual, temporary, probationary, seasonal and odd jobs. Based on official government data, an estimate of 44 percent of workers employed in various industries were not regulars. The rate of contractual employment is also high in the construction sector (81 percent) and quarrying sector (59 percent).

He also criticized the approval of a new Department Order (DO 174) that ostensibly put an end to contractualization.

The Anakpawis solon said that DO 174 was actually an updated version of Department Order 18-A, which maintains Sections 106 to 109 of the Labor Code that justify the hiring of contractual workers.

“DO 174 not only legitimized but also strengthened the role of agencies that served as the third party to hire workers. In fact, it negates the employer-employee relationship thus ending the accountability and responsibility of the employer to its employee in terms of security of tenure, right to negotiate and obligations to provide worker’s benefit”.