Health and science workers in gov’t unite vs SSL, set march to Mendiola
MANILA — Government health and science workers will launch a nationwide protest on Friday, including a march to Malacañang Palace, to protest the proposed Salary Standardization Law .
The employee associations said the SSL would decrease rather than increase their incomes by removing benefits already won in previous magna carta legislation.
The combined 25,000-strong employees of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the 19,000-strong National Department of Health Employees Association (NADEA) have also agreed to hold coordinated Black Friday mass actions nationwide.
Employees in 24 hospitals and 17 regional offices of the DOH will start their own protest action on Thursday by wearing black arm bands during working hours, according to Lorenza Serafica, president of NADEA.
The 5,485-strong United DOST Employees Association (UNIDEA) has also announced it will join the protest action on Friday. This includes the Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA), the organization of weather forecasters and other science and technology workers with the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)
On the march to Malacañang, Lovely Pangal, media officer of the Alliance for Health Workers, said about 1,000 health workers and government employees would assemble at the University of Santos Tomas on Feb. 16 before marching to Mendiola.
In an interview, Pangal said the Mendiola march would culminate their own series of protest actions held over the past weeks against the SSL, which the group decried as the “dilution or total dissolution” of the Magna Carta for Health Workers.”
The SSL, she explained, would provide a P500-salary increase while taking away P7,000 worth of benefits won in the Magna Carta for Health Workers or Republic Act 7305.
“This salary standardization law is deceptive and treacherous. It falsely advertises an increase in our wages yet will actually rob us of our benefits,” the alliance’s statement read.
PWEA president Ramon Agustin told the Inquirer the group has been drafting their own proposals to modify the contentious provision in the SSL in Section 20, which stated that Magna Carta laws inconsistent with the law would be “repealed, amended, or modified accordingly.”
Benjo Basas, president of the Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC), which includes some public school teachers, has also signified their intention to join the alliance of health and science workers.
The Senate and the House of Representatives are finalizing in a bicameral conference the final version of the SSL, which grants all state employees salary increases over the next four years or from 2016 to 2019.
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