devalues daily pay & pushes workers into deeper poverty
March 11, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Minimum wage earners and informal sector workers fell further in
deeper poverty three months into the increases in the prices of
goods and services due to the implementation of the Tax Reform
Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) excise tax on fuel and sweetened
beverages and the increase in prices of government documents.
In a monitoring of
prevailing prices by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the
National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) released on
February 9, 2018 , the real value or the buying power of the
country’s 17 regions total average daily nominal minimum wage of
P329.35 is now only P210 a day.
In Metro Manila, the
country’s highest minimum wage, the buying power of P512 daily
minimum pay fell to P357.29. On the other hand, the real value or
purchasing power of the country’s lowest minimum pay of P265 a day
in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is P152.12 a day.
As of March 1, 2018, the
total purchasing power of workers for a month fell to P8,575.
However, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the
published standard amount needed by a family of five to survive
within poverty line in 2015 is P9,064.
“We noticed the erosion of
wage’s purchasing power move quickly downwards by 6% in just a
matter of two months from January to February upon the effectivity
of TRAIN. This extraordinary devaluation of monthly salary is
significant to the informal sector workers earning less than P12,000
a month and the minimum wage earners receiving less than the same
amount,” said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of labor group Associated
Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).
“We urge government’s
immediate and quality response to save and prevent these workers,
who help build our economy and who are producers of goods and
services to make our economy competitive, from falling through the
cracks,” Tanjusay said.
With the inflation rate
hitting 3.9 % by the end of February 2018, the ALU-TUCP expect it to
rise by the end of the month in the light of impending increases in
the cost of electricity, rice, fish, sardines, vegetables,
condiments and prices of gasoline.
The March 15 meeting
between ALU-TUCP and President Duterte on the group’s proposed P500
government monthly subsidy was moved to March 22.
The ALU-TUCP proposed to
Duterte an amelioration program called Labor Empowerment and
Assistance Program (LEAP). Under the program, minimum wage earners
will received monthly a P500 worth of grocery items to help the
workers cope with the rising cost of living caused by TRAIN.