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Rise in poverty due to Aquino gov’t disregard on plight of workers, poor

Pointing to a recent SWS survey that says that the number of Filipinos who regard themselves as “mahirap” surged by 2 million, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemned the Aquino government today for failing to address escalating poverty and hunger and callously rejecting clamors to provide immediate economic relief amidst soaring prices of basic commodities and services.

The poll, conducted from March 10 to 13, found 55 per cent of the respondents, or roughly about 11.1 million families, claiming to be poor, 10 points higher than the 45 per cent or 9.1 million households of December last year.

The number of families claiming to be “food-poor” also escalated by 9 points from previous quarter’s 36 per cent to 45 per cent or from an estimated 7.2 million to 9.1 million families.

“In fact the statistics pale in comparison to the unimaginable hardships that workers and the poor have to bear amidst skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and services and rapid devaluation of the purchasing power of wages,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

KMU again castigated the Aquino regime for its outright rejection of the workers and people’s call for the long-overdue significant wage hike and the junking of contractual employment schemes.

“These measures could have provided people some immediate economic relief amidst growing financial insecurity especially among workers and the poor. However, Aquino seems keener in upholding and safeguarding his regime’s sacred cow: the huge profit of big capitalists and compradors,” Soluta said.

“On the very day of the working class, May 1st, Aquino, together with his running dogs, decided to spit on our very faces, swiftly nixing calls for a significant wage hike and an end to contractual employment scheme,” he added.

KMU stressed the need for a significant, legislated, and across-the-board wage hike to alleviate the worsening plight of workers and the poor.

The current NCR minimum wage of Php426 is only 2/5 of the family living wage (FLW) which amounts to almost P1000 per day.

According to a study done by Ibon Foundation, from 2001 to 2011, prices have increased by over 62% while wages have increased by only 45%.

“We call on workers and people to further intensify the struggle for significant wage hike as an immediate relief to our suffering. We call on our legislators to immediately approve and enact HB 375 or the P125 Wage Hike Bill,” Soluta said.

Reference Person: 
Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general
Contact information: 
0928-7215313

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