What labor groups, employers expect from Marcos’ 1st SONA

July 25, 2022 - 10:14 AM
This July 22, 2022 photo shows labor coalition composed of National Federation of Labor, SENTRO and Federation of Free Workers, among others holding rally at the Department of Labor and Employment in Intramuros, Manila. (National Federation of Labor/Released)

Several labor groups have laid down their expectations from the first State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Minimum wage

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition wants to hear about the designation of a national minimum wage from the president.

According to its convenor, Renato Magtubo, the laborers  are hopeful that Marcos will touch even on policy statements such as tapping Congress to review Republic Act 6727 or Wage Rationalization Act and formally set a national minimum wage.

The Wage Rationalization Act states that the “minimum wage rates for agricultural and non-agricultural employees and workers in every region of the country shall be those prescribed by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards.”

The current minimum wage rates in the National Capital Region range from P533 to P570.

Job creation

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) acknowledges that the country is facing immediate problems that need to be addressed, such as the high inflation rate and the pandemic, but ECOP wants Marcos also to address job creation, said its president, Sergio Ortiz Jr.

According to a Philippine Statistics Authority report, the top five sub-sectors with the highest decline in employment from May 2021 to May 2022 were as follows:

  1. Agriculture and forestry 
  2. Public administration and defense; compulsory social security
  3. Education 
  4. Financial and insurance activities; and
  5. Other service activities.

End contractualization

In a statement, the urban poor group Kadamay (Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap) wants the government to abolish all kind of labor contractualization and implement a “Family Living Wage” for all workers, which, according to them, will include P25,000 to the frontline and government workers.

Scrap provincial rate, salary of Libreng Sakay program drivers

In a Facebook post, National Federation of Labor shared that they convened before the Department of Labor and Employment in Intramuros last July 22 to urge Marcos to likewise raise the minimum wage, end contractualization and scrap the provincial rate.

They also called on Marcos to rightfully pay the drivers who are working for the government’s Libreng Sakay Program in EDSA Carousel.

“Kasama rin sa panawagan ang hustisya sa mga driver at konduktor ng EDSA Carousel na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin nakatatanggap ng sahod. Matatandaang planong ituloy ng kasalukuyang administrasyon ang Libreng Sakay Program sa EDSA Carousel sa kabila ng maraming anomalya sa implementasyon ng programa,” the coalition composed of NFL, SENTRO and Federation of Free Workers, among others, said.

In February, transport groups staged a protest in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in East Avenue in Quezon City to demand the release of their salaries for their services rendered through the EDSA Bus Carousel.

READ: Concerned Filipinos back EDSA Bus Carousel drivers’ clamor for release of salaries

Last month, youth and transportation advocate Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña said these drivers remain unpaid.

READ: Unseen costs: Free bus rides, rising fuel prices causing longer EDSA Carousel queues

Meanwhile, Marcos is set to hold his first SONA at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City later today, July 25.