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P22 COLA – not enough, infuriating

We strongly condemn the National Capital Region wage board’s approval of a meager P22.00 Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for workers. This is not surprising, yet still infuriating.

This additional COLA does not get anywhere near the significant or P125 wage hike that we workers have long been clamoring for. It won’t give us real immediate relief amidst the rising prices of basic goods and services, especially petroleum products. Even the wage hike that we are demanding still won’t make wage levels approximate a living wage.

The added COLA shows that the government does not recognize the Filipino workers’ long-standing suffering and hunger. It does not recognize that the current severe economic crisis will continue to affect the nation and the world in the coming years.

We condemn the Aquino regime, the Department of Labor and Employment and the regional wage boards for this additional COLA. Faced with the intensifying clamor for a significant wage hike amidst rising prices, the Aquino regime has for a month been putting on a show of increasing wages – only to approve a meager additional COLA.

Amidst the grinding poverty and extreme exploitation being faced by Filipino workers, the Aquino regime only approved a scanty additional COLA – a clear proof that it is subservient to big foreign and local capitalists. It is clear that all it can do is put on a show, offer band-aid solutions and try to make itself look good –instead of implementing genuine pro-worker reforms.

We also condemn big foreign and local capitalists who speak as if the world will end if a significant wage hike is implemented. They try to make it appear that their businesses will be hurt if a nationwide P125 across-the-board wage increase is approved when it in fact will only mean a 15% reduction from their profits.

This decision only proves once again that the regional wage board is a capitalist instrument for pressing down workers’ wages. It won’t give a significant wage increase even at a time when workers are in dire need, and should therefore be abolished.

We also condemn the Trade Union of the Philippines for conniving with the regime and capitalists in confining workers’ calls for a significant wage hike to the regional wage boards. The TUCP is conspiring with the regime and capitalists in spreading false hopes that there can be a significant wage hike through this capitalist instrument.

Lastly, the Aquino regime’s recent move won’t dampen the workers’ and people’s protests. On the contrary it is pushing us to intensify our protests. In the following days, weeks and months, we will continue with our protest actions for a significant wage hike.

In particular, we ask Congress and the Senate to pass House Bill 375 which seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage increase nationwide. We won’t stop until the fight for a significant wage hike is won. The P22 COLA only adds fuel to the burning rage of the Filipino workers and people against the anti-worker and pro-capitalist Aquino regime.

Reference Person: 
Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson
Contact information: 
0908-1636597

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