Latest Stories

Gov’t readies nonwage benefits

70 job fairs to highlight Labor Day celebration

By , Tina G. Santos

The government would unveil “nonwage” benefits on Labor Day, Malacañang said Sunday, as it exhorted Filipinos to seize some 400,000 jobs in job fairs to be held Tuesday across the country.

President Aquino would meet with labor leaders in a breakfast dialogue on Tuesday in Malacañang, but the country’s workforce shouldn’t expect any announcement of wage benefits, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

“Well, the President is going to sit down with them in the usual dialogue with labor and to also help Secretary (Rosalinda) Baldoz appeal to the workers’ sector … to wait for the unveiling of the package. That’s nonwage benefits,” Valte said.

Valte said the public should withhold comment on the package until this is presented.

Before the Palace unveiled the package of nonwage benefits, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) described the minimum pay in the country as “starvation wages.”

“The minimum wage cannot buy a working class family its daily bread. The Constitution mandates that a worker receive a living wage. Instead, the regional wage boards prescribed a libing (burial) wage,” PM secretary general Judy Miranda said in a statement sent to the Inquirer.

The group said its own study of the cost of living for a family of six in Metro Manila showed that it had already reached P1,217 a day.

“This estimate shows that the gap between the P456 minimum wage in (Metro Manila) and the present cost of living is a yawning P761, or 167 percent of the ordinary wage. Even if both parents work—which is the buy-one, take-one policy of the government—then their combined income will not be enough to feed the entire family,” Miranda said.

The group’s cost of living estimate did not provide for savings and social security, which in the government’s basket of goods and services constitute 10 percent of the cost of living.

Miranda said the study did not include items such as leisure and recreation, and the family budget for health excluded medical expenses.

“If we include such items, and we must in a more accurate survey, then the cost of living will significantly exceed P1,200 per day,” she said.

‘Hopelessly outdated’

She added that “the National Wages and Productivity Council’s cost of living estimate of P917 in 2008 is hopelessly outdated in light of this study and in the face of continuing inflation.”

The militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), which is usually not invited to the breakfast dialogue with the President, is gearing up for Labor Day protest rallies that would include the burning of Aquino’s effigy.

KMU chairman Elmer Labog said the President was condoning increases in power and water rates, in prices of oil and other basic goods, and the privatization of public hospitals.

Jobless growth

“The burden on the Filipino workers and urban poor is getting more and more unbearable because of Aquino’s subservience to the dictates of the United States and of his big capitalists cohorts,” Labog said.

Officials of the moderate Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) vowed to raise unmet labor issues and “jobless growth” on Tuesday’s pre-Labor Day breakfast with Aquino at the Heroes Hall.

“On top of the agenda is this so-called jobless growth. There has been a pronounced improvement in the economy but this growth does not translate to generate opportunities for employment,” TUCP secretary general Gerard Seno said in a statement.

In 2012, the country posted a 6.6-percent gross domestic product growth compared with Thailand’s 6.4 percent, Indonesia’s 6.2 percent, Malaysia’s 5.6 percent, Vietnam’s 5 percent and Singapore’s 1.2 percent.

But citing the National Statistics Office, the TUCP said there were 2.89 million unemployed Filipinos and 7.934 million underemployed Filipinos in January 2013.

The “all-time high” underemployment rate in six years was recorded in July 2012 at 8.55 million, it added.

Poverty incidence

Besides the big number of unemployed and underemployed, poverty incidence in the country has remained unchanged over the past six years despite economic growth.

Poverty incidence in the first semester of 2012 stood at 27.9 percent, “practically unchanged” from 28.6 percent in 2009 and 28.8 percent in 2006, the National Statistical Coordination Board announced on April 23.

The high poverty incidence showed that the benefits of economic growth were not trickling down to the poor.

Valte said that the last time she checked, the unemployment rate was going down. “We see that the trend is going down,” she said.

70 job fairs

As part of Labor Day celebrations, the Department of Labor and Employment would open 70 job fairs in the country’s 16 regions on Tuesday, she said.

“So there are over 400,000 jobs that will be available—both local and overseas job opportunities that will be available in the 70 job fairs. And we encourage everybody to go to those job fairs and see what these have in store for you,” she said.

The TUCP said that high on the agenda of Tuesday’s dialogue with the President were issues such as employment and job creation, contractualization, social protection, right to self-organization and collective bargaining, wage increase, tripartism and social dialogue, and labor dispute settlement.

In a paper submitted to the Tripartite Industry and Peace Council, the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP recommended that the administration:

– Prioritize the creation of “decent” and productive employment.

– Ensure approval of the security of tenure bill.

– Direct labor officials to review outsourcing policies in the banking sector and other industries.

– Set up a commission on industrial policy.

– Craft a clear industrial policy.

Mural, effigy

The KMU said it was preparing a mural and an effigy that would be showcased on May 1. The mural, measuring 15 by 24 feet, depicts Aquino dressed as a clown and hounded by workers, peasants, urban poor and other sectors while hanging on an airplane piloted by US President Barack Obama.

Created by painter and printmaker Orlando Castillo, former president of the Art Association of the Philippines and founding member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, the mural will be unveiled at a program in Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila.

Other artworks by various artists will be highlighted on Labor Day, according to Labog.

“They depict suffering and lies being inflicted on the Filipino workers by President Noynoy Aquino,” he added.

Labog said Castillo’s mural “also shows the growing anger of the Filipino people against Aquino’s antipoor policies, betrayal of the people, and puppetry to the US. Anger at Aquino’s propaganda stunts aimed at deceiving the public is intensifying.”

The 10-feet tall effigy being created by artists from UgatLahi Artist Collective depicts Aquino and Obama as two serpents around an electric post.

The concept was inspired by the symbol for universal healthcare, according to KMU.

The effigy would be burned at around 5 p.m. at the Chino Roces bridge (formerly Mendiola) in Manila to mark the closing of this year’s Labor Day protests.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Government , Labor Day , nonwage benefits , Philippines , wages

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. Massage attendant arrested on rape complaint filed by Japanese tourist
  3. ‘Tell no one’ Makati bettor won P250M lotto
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  6. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  7. North Korea uses flamethrower to execute official
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  10. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • How other faiths observe Holy Week
  • No noise, partying in Boracay on Good Friday
  • More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  • NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat
  • DOH issues official statement on confirmed case of MERS-CoV
  • Sports

  • Tenacious Iran frustrates Qatar to retain Asian Club volleyball crown
  • Floyd Mayweather is ESPN’s top-paid athlete
  • Pistorius trial: Judge sets 2-week adjournment
  • China, Taiwan rout foes for 3rd, 5th places in Asian Club volleyball
  • Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Filipino rock icons to hold silent concert
  • Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s greatest hits
  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • Business

  • Russian economy hit by Ukraine turmoil
  • PSEi firms up ahead of Lenten break
  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Visa-free travel by Filipinos to Japan still a proposal
  • Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism
  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
  • Marketplace