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Labor group seeks P25 pandemic relief allowance

Local labor group General Alliance of Workers Associations is seeking a P25 per day Pandemic Emergency Relief Allowance for workers, its secretary-general, Wennie Sancho, said today, February 23.

Sancho, labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-Western Visayas, reiterated this call during the Regional Wage Board meeting on Monday, February 22.

The Board will set public consultations on the proposal, which was manifested in the group’s position paper on October 2020.

The rising cost of living as evidenced by the unabated increases in the prices of basic goods and services is the primary reason for the demand of labor for another wage adjustment to protect the continued deterioration of the workers’ purchasing power, Sancho said.

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, as of January 2021, the purchasing power of the peso (PPP) is P0.77, which means that the nominal daily wage of P395 for commercial and industrial workers is worth or equivalent to P304.15 in terms of real wage, he explained.

“A worker in the private sector is losing about P90.85 per day due to the erosion of his purchasing power, which is about 23 percent reduction from his daily income. It would cost about P2,362 when multiplied by 26 working days in a month. A minimum wage worker in WV is losing about P28,344 from his income annually if there is no supplemental income by way of wage increase or allowance,” he stressed.

He added, “when the prices of prime commodities and services particularly petroleum products, pork, chicken, medicines, and others skyrocket, while the wages and salaries of the workers go on a sudden extreme downward direction, something must be done by way of an ‘immediate economic relief’ to protect the workers and their families from suffering an economic breakdown.”

It is only proper that the Regional Wage Board should “heed the plea of the workers for amelioration before we will be engulfed by the economic recession”, Sancho said.

The moto proprio move of the Regional Wage Board to evaluate economic conditions, assess wage rates and conduct public hearings and consultations will revive the hope and enthusiasm of the workers in this trying and difficult times, while they are waiting for the promises of the Department of Labor and Employment for the granting of wage subsidy and financial assistance, he added.

The Board will set the schedule of the consultations during their next meeting on March 11, Sancho said.*

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