By Associated Labor Unions
February 10, 2018
QUEZON CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the creation of a small task group that would set in motion the P500 monthly cash voucher government subsidy and concrete steps in bringing down electricity rates being proposed by the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) to help minimum-wage earners cope with the rising cost of living.
“During a dialogue with labor groups last Wednesday, the President ordered the creation of a small working group composed of four representatives from his cabinet and four representatives from the ALU-TUCP to discuss how to operationalize the subsidy and the proposed measures in bringing down the cost of power,” said ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.
Duterte’s order followed after the group discussed the matter in a dialogue with labor groups in Malacañang last Wednesday. The government’s task group is made up of secretaries from the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). They are to meet with ALU-TUCP representatives on March 15, 2018.
The proposed subsidy came amid the country’s highest daily minimum wage fell by 30% due to the inflation caused by the usual demand and supply hikes and by the implementation of Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) excise taxes on fuel and sweetened beverages, the ALU-TUCP said.
In a monitoring being conducted by the group, as of February 10, 2018, the purchasing power of daily minimum wage of P512 in Metro Manila region fell to P360.31 a day – an remarkable erosion of P151.69 a day.
“In sum, workers’ lose a total of P3,943.94 a month to inflation. With this amount, a family can buy additional food needed for them to stay healthy in our society and remain productive citizen in nation-building. But it looks like there is no immediate relief in sight coming from the Duterte government to extend government assistance to those who are immersed in poverty and no safety nets for those who are about to fall into poverty,” said ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) noted the inflation rate nationwide at 4% in January 2018. The ALU-TUCP is proposing to President Rodrigo Duterte a P500 monthly cash voucher subsidy for an initial 4 million minimum wage earners to help them cope from rising cost of living and as safety net for them from falling into further poverty.