Aquino told: Ease malnutrition, hike wages
Amidst reports of worsening malnutrition among Filipinos, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called on Pres. Noynoy Aquino to increase workers’ wages by a significant amount, saying such a move will help ease malnutrition in the country.
A study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme, and International Fund for Agriculture Development showed that the number of malnourished Filipinos climbed by two million in the period 2010-2012 and has reached 16 million.
KMU has been calling for the passage of House Bill 375, or the P125 Wage Hike Bill, filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano, which seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide and provide workers with immediate relief from the soaring prices of basic goods and services.
“There is a way for Aquino to reduce malnutrition in the country and that is to approve a significant wage hike. This will give workers more money to buy food for themselves and their children, who surely compose a huge section of those considered malnourished,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
“Food is one of the first things that workers’ families sacrifice whenever wages become smaller. The meager wage hikes that successive presidents have implemented through the years have surely resulted in a decrease in the food consumption of workers and their families,” Labog said.
An April 2012 study of Ibon Foundation showed that the gap between the country’s minimum wage and cost of living has increased in the last 10 years, with the minimum wage’s proportion to the Family Living Wage decreasing from 50 per cent in 2001 to 40 per cent in 2011.
“All Aquino has to do is certify as urgent the passage of the P125 Wage Hike Bill. He has after all railroaded other bills into getting approved,” Labog said.
“Workers need a significant wage hike, such as a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide, now more than ever. Hunger and poverty in the country have been getting worse for years,” he added.
According to a March 2012 study of the Ibon Foundation, a P125 across-the-board wage hike will amount to a mere 12 per cent reduction in capitalists’ profits and should not cause inflation or massive retrenchment.
“Capitalists can really grant a significant wage hike. That is, if they allow a meager cut in their profits, which have been increasing in recent years,” Labog said.
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