Latest Stories

Aquino joins Tarlac sortie on Labor Day; talks with union leaders


President Aquino. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III, bothered by cough and cold, took a rest on Labor Day in his hometown in Tarlac on Wednesday before joining a political rally and seeking another dialogue with disgruntled trade union leaders.

The President also tasked Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares to seriously study the proposed additional exemption of minimum wage earners from income tax.

Mr. Aquino had coughing fits, apparently from a cold, in his recent public appearances. But he was well, taking medicines prescribed by doctors, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

After a dialogue with moderate labor leaders in Malacañang on Tuesday morning, the President had no labor-related meetings on Wednesday.

His only scheduled public appearance was a 4 p.m. rally with local leaders in Victoria town, Tarlac.

Mr. Aquino spent the night in Tarlac after visiting jobs fair in Tarlac City Tuesday afternoon.

The suggestion to schedule the President’s Labor Day activities a day earlier on April 30 came from the Department of Labor and Employment, Lacierda said.

He said the DOLE made the suggestion “weeks ago or a month ago.”

Mr. Aquino was not avoiding Labor Day rallies, he said.

The DOLE had arranged a Labor Day Skype conference for Mr. Aquino with Filipino migrant workers in Qatar from a jobs fair in Tarlac City.

Mylene Gomez, 28, was among the migrant workers who waited for two hours at a computer shop in Qatar for the chance to talk with Mr. Aquino.

But the President simply breezed through the booths at the fair in St. Michael’s Park and left without saying a word, disappointing 3,000 job-seekers who thought he was going to speak to them.

In Qatar, Gomez was also disappointed but told a reporter that she wished the President well and hoped he would continue supporting migrant workers like her.

“We know he is doing something for migrant workers. I hope he presses the effort, especially for our families in the Philippines,” Gomez said.

Mr. Aquino was seeking another dialogue with labor leaders after Tuesday’s formal talks and a more personal meeting in Malacañang so he could hear out their concerns, Lacierda said.

“When the President met with them [again], they had a better discussion,’’ he said, recalling that at least 17 labor leaders personally aired their concerns in the presence of several Cabinet officials at the second dialogue.

“One labor leader expressed [surprise] at the openness of the President and the Cabinet members. [T]hey were able to voice their concerns and the President was very open,’’ he said.

Cabinet officials continued the discussion after Mr. Aquino left for Tarlac for the job fair, and it was at this point that both sides agreed to hold another dialogue, Lacierda said.

“The commitment is that by the end of May, we will have another round of dialogue with the labor sector representatives,’’ he said.

It was during the dialogue that Mr. Aquino instructed Henares to prioritize the review of the proposed income tax exemptions for minimum wage earners, Lacierda said.

Henares confirmed the information, saying the exemption was a second priority for Mr. Aquino, after going after tax evaders.

The President announced nonwage benefits for the country’s workforce during the meeting. Labor leaders came out of the meeting dismayed and saying he did not respond to their demands.

Hearing about their grumbling, Mr. Aquino called them again to a no-holds barred discussion in a room in Malacañang and after listening to them, gave the order to Henares.

Since minimum wage earners bear the brunt of the expanded value-added tax, the tax should be imposed only on the amount earned in excess of their income, and not on their total income, Daniel Edralin of the Alliance of Progressive Labor proposed during the dialogue.

At present, the minimum wage is exempt from income tax, but income in excess of the minimum wage is subject to tax.

“The President tasked us to study it, and how we can do it without our tax collection suffering. If at all there will be tax consequence, and then there’s the issue of our credit rating,’’ Henares said. “We have to balance all of these concerns, and come up with a structure addressing all these.’’ With a report from Jo Martinez-Clemente, Inquirer Central Luzon

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: Benigno Aquino III , Edwin Lacierda , kim henares , Labor Day , Minimum Wage , political rally , Tarlac , Trade Union Leaders

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. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  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. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • Two Popes who would be saints
  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Sports

  • Duke freshman declares for NBA draft
  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace