Labor group stages ‘Triple Whammy’ protests in Makati amid price hikes
Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) staged protests in government and private offices in Makati City on Tuesday, to call attention to various issues such as the rising prices of basic commodities, low wages, and contractualization.
Dubbed “Triple Whammy” protest, the group trooped first to the main office of the Department of Trade and Industry and the office of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines both on Gil Puyat Avenue, and the headquarters of major oil player Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. on Valero Street.
“Makatwiran at makatarungan ang pagrehistro ng pagkilos na ito ng mga manggagawa, sapagkat ramdam namin ang hirap na dinaranas ng mga mamamayan [dahil sa pagtaas ng mga bilihin],” said KMU-National Capital Region chair Ed Cubelo.
Tuesday’s increase in oil prices was the third just for this month. Since January, diesel prices increased for P9.30, gasoline at P8.70, and kerosene at P9.60.
The protesters criticized President Duterte and the DTI for allowing additional taxes, including excise taxes from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
Meanwhile, Cubelo lambasted ECOP “for being at the forefront against any increase in wages and abolishing the practice of contractualization, which only shows how greedy they are for profit.”
ECOP is the employer representative of the tripartite system, along with the labor sector (represented by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines) and the government.
According to ECOP, the House of Representatives’ Makabayan bloc bill proposing a national daily minimum wage of P750 to be adjusted yearly was “impossible.”
Cubelo appealed to the government that “right now is the necessary and perfect time” to implement a wage increase to cushion the impact of the high prices of goods.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President was “not indifferent” on the impact of the oil price hike on Filipinos, citing that Duterte has ordered three directives to key government agencies:
First, for the DTI to monitor and arrest traders who take advantage of the oil price hikes by raising the prices of products higher than the suggested retail price.
Second for the Department of Labor and Employment to consult the wage board if there was a need to increase the minimum wage.
Third for the Department of Energy to import cheaper oil products from non-members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which are dominated by Middle East and African countries. /vvp
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