By Leslie Ann Aquino
Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) on Wednesday challenged politicians who defended the P25 minimum wage hike in Metro Manila to live by P537 a day in order to understand why workers are indignant with the wage order.
“Do they have any idea what wage earners are going through? They may claim empathy when in public but when did they pro-actively match our pleas with concrete action?” BMP chairperson Leody de Guzman said in a statement.
The group said the public statements issued by public officials who claimed that the recent P25 wage order of the Regional Wages and Productivity Tripartite Board for Metro Manila workers is satisfactory or better than nothing were only “adding insult to injury and propagating a mentality that reinforces social inequality and injustice”.
Among the statements the BMP took exception were those of Vice-President Leni Robredo, Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo and Kabayan partylist representative Ron Salo.
These officials, De Guzman said were merely riding on the issue to make them seem relevant in the eyes of ordinary people but instead of inspiring workers to seek just compensation they are furthering a loss with indignity”.
“Come down from your ivory towers and end your lip service of being pro-poor. If you truly believe that P25 is better than nothing, take the minimum wage challenge or join us in the streets to demand our fair share of the social wealth we created,” he said.
Such justifications for the meager increase amidst the steadily rising cost of living in Metro Manila, BMP said are “condemnable and unbecoming of a public official, to think that the salaries and perks they enjoy in office are paid for by our collective sweat”.
“Will these politicians know what it is like to live through the misery of underpayment, overtaxation, contractual employment, heavily in debt, lack of social services and pepetual anxiety?” said De Guzman.
The group is still studying the option of filing an appeal on the wage order before the prescribed period lapses