Workers picket DOLE anew, slam meager P22 COLA
Faced with higher schooling costs
“No significant wage hike for years + unabated price hikes + steady increase in tuition fees + steady increase in prices of school supplies = workers in misery this start of the school year.”
This was the statement of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno as it led a picket in front of the office of the Department of Labor and Employment in Intramuros, Manila three days before the resumption of classes on Monday and a month after the P22 COLA was approved by the Metro Manila wage board.
“We returned to the DOLE office to protest because we have seen the increases in tuition fees and the prices of school supplies and we are angrier than ever at the Aquino government for granting a mere P22 Cost of Living Allowance. Increases in schooling costs emphasize how measly the P22 COLA is, especially in the face of unabated increases in the prices of basic goods and services,” said Roy Velez, KMU-National Capital Region chairperson.
“As schools open, we again witness the incompetence of the Aquino government in upholding the interests of the Filipino workers and people: in the same way that it is incapable of controlling the prices of oil and other basic goods and services, it is incapable of controlling increases in tuition fees and school supplies,” he added.
Data from the Commission on Higher Education reveal that 324 colleges and universities throughout the country, 69 of which are in the National Capital Region, raised their tuition fees this year. The national average in tuition fee hike is 14.37 percent this year, with 7.38 percent in Metro Manila.
“Enrollment season is always a source of problem for Filipino workers, but this year is especially so, despite the P22 COLA. The opening of classes only makes it even clearer to us workers that what is needed is a significant wage hike – not meager COLA’s implemented by a government that only want to make it appear that it is doing something for workers,” Velez said.
“After pleasing the oil cartel by refusing to control oil prices and after pleasing capitalists by granting a meager COLA, the Aquino administration has just pleased capitalists in the education sector by refusing to control tuition fees. The Aquino government is compounding the poverty and suffering of the Filipino workers and people by serving the interests of capitalists all-out,” he added.
Workers threw paints over the representational blackboard where Noynoy’s formula for worsening the workers’ and people’s condition is written and burned it afterwards as a symbol of their outrage and struggle against the anti-worker and anti-people Aquino regime.
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