By FORTUNATO MAGTANGGOL
Spokesperson, RCTU Southern Tagalog Chapter
The Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions-Southern Tagalog, an allied organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, denounced the results of the recent study done by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) regarding the country’s minimum wage and its “ill effects on the lives of the Filipino workers”.
Saying it is purely capitalist propaganda that coincides with Aquino’s orchestrated efforts in taking away the people’s basic right to decent living, RCTU-NDFP-ST warned the US-Aquino regime of leaving workers with no other choice but to join and lead the national democratic revolution that will finally put an end to imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, and feudalism, to which they see no chances of living in decency.
On 3 April 2014, the PIDS released a study showing how minimum wage “leads to poverty” instead of alleviating the lives of Filipino workers in the country. According to the study, a number of Filipino families lose the possibility of earning a living and “increases the probability of falling into poverty” due to the mandatory minimum wage set by the government.
In accordance with the results of the study, the PIDS proposed the 12-point Jobs Expansion and Development Initiative or Jedi program that calls for the removal of a compulsory minimum wage, and the extension of the mandatory regularization period from six months to two years, among others. The said program, PIDS said, would allow companies to hire low-skilled and poor contractual workers who are willing to work and receive below minimum wages.
The Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) highly agreed to the results of the study.
The RCTU-NDFP-ST, however, stated otherwise. “This is purely capitalist propaganda that is part of the BS Aquino regime’s orchestrated efforts in eliminating all kinds of restrictions in foreign capitalists’ objectives in extracting super profits from the blood and sweat of Filipino workers. From the implementation of the Two Tiered Wage System that further lowered the P337 minimum wage to P255 floor wage in the region, the US-Aquino regime is obviously trying to brainwash the Filipino people to ultimately remove the minimum wage system in the country, eliminate regular employment, and basically take away all the remaining rights that workers hardly enjoy under a puppet regime.” Said Fortunato Magtanggol, RCTU-NDF-ST spokesperson.
Aside from the aforementioned propositions, the Jedi Program proposed the ‘simplification of the labor-dispute resolution process; making hiring and firing decisions more flexible; minimizing the imposition of labor regulations and practices; and adopting a Singaporean style of providing income supplements to targeted ultra-poor.’
“The US-Aquino regime’s explanation of the roots of poverty through the PIDS study is totally skewed. Workers well know that low wages and the lack of benefits, aggravated by widespread contractual employment, as well as the lack of labor regulations to ensure workers’ decent living and the blatant endorsement of neoliberal policies on education such as the K+12 reform and technical courses through the TESDA (Technical Education Skills Development Authority) are the reasons why we are endlessly suffering from poverty.”
“It is simple mathematics — prices are rising, and the wages offered are insufficient. Unemployment rate remains high, and more and more people from the countryside are adding-up to the reserved labor force due to rampant land-grabbing by landlords and capitalists like Aquino. The proposed Jedi Program will worsen the country’s poverty incidence and will bring into heights the current political and economic crisis in the Philippines,” added Magtanggol.
“There is clarity in the whole picture. Aquino, a true-blue puppet of the imperialist US, is keen and determined in implementing neoliberal policies that will permit boundless capitalist oppression on the Philippine labor force. This is supported by his intensified counter-insurgency program that aims to suppress and eventually eliminate trade unions so as to remove all possible distractions, and his attempts to promote Charter Change that will allow 100% foreign ownership of capital and resources in the country.”
“May this serve as a warning for the US-Aquino regime: do not take away the very little that is left of the workers. The people are already disgruntled with your corrupt, inhumane, and incompetent administration and will not be deceived by your rhetoric. There is no wonder why the revolutionary movement is continuously rising in arms and power, with more workers, peasants, and urban poor who see no other choice but to bring down the current exploitative system through the armed struggle.” Ended Magtanggol.
On 29 March, more than 100 workers joined the lightning rally and ‘paint the town red’ operations initiated by RCTU-NDF-ST to show the strengthening support of workers towards the national democratic revolution in the country, which is considered as one of the longest running communist insurgencies in the world.
The Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) is a state-owned non-stock, non-profit corporation established in 1977 to ‘respond to the critical and growing need for research for planning and policy formulation’ and ‘to help government planners and policy makers in the executive and legislative branches of the government’.