Wage hikes, price controls: Socialist coalition bares ambitious platform

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Wage hikes, price controls: Socialist coalition bares ambitious platform
Undated file photo shows labor leader Leody de Guzman at a protest.
Leody de Guzman / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Socialist coalition Laban ng Masa, which is backing presidential aspirant and labor leader Leody de Guzman and his running mate Walden Bello, presented Saturday a 13-point platform consisting of ambitious economic, political and social reforms that would mostly need congressional approval.

LNM’s priorities should De Guzman and Bello get elected are narrowed down to "TKO" — trabaho (jobs), kalusugan (health) and oportunidad (opportunities).

Under its platform for jobs, LNM wants to:

  • Increase the minimum wage to P750 across the country
  • Provide unemployment benefits to all displaced workers
  • Implement a mass public employment program
  • Put an end to contractualization by closing down all manpower agencies
  • Place price controls on oil, electricity, internet, water, farm inputs and other basic commodities.

For health, LNM is pushing for:

  • A pro-people, medically-informed and demilitarized response to the pandemic
  • Aid, vaccines, protection for all, including paid leaves and compensation for those who get COVID-19 or have to go on quarantine
  • Increased wages and benefits for healthcare workers
  • Free quality healthcare for all
  • Support for women’s reproductive self-determination and the decriminalization of abortion

LNM is also pressing for the following:

  • Reversal the privatization of public services by refunding and building more and better public schools, hospitals, parks, libraries, day-care centers, evacuation centers and other social assistance centers
  • Imposition of wealth tax on the country’s richest 250 families
  • Uphold marriage equality and support alternative family arrangements
  • Repealing value-added tax and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act in favor of a “more progressive” tax system
  • Prosecution of President Rodrigo Duterte and his supposed cronies
  • Repealing the Anti-Terrorism Act
  • Disbanding Duterte’s controversial anti-communist task force
  • Resumption of peace talks with communist rebels
  • Ending persecution of media outlets
  • Reviewing all history books and counter historical revisionism in all schools
  • Exhumation of the body of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos from the Libingan ng mga Bayani

Many of their proposals would require changing existing laws, which would also mean having to go through a Congress dominated by political elites.

Increasing the minimum wage nationwide and ending contractualization are just some of LNM's programs that would have to go through the legislative mill before being enacted.

Some of their programs, like decrminalizing abortion and supporting same-sex marriage, would also likely face stiff opposition in a country where the Catholic Church’s influence still holds sway.

'Win the people over, lawmakers will follow'

Bello acknowledged that it would be difficult to enact all these reforms without the support of the majority.

"Leody and I … offer a tough program of real reform that cannot succeed unless most of our people rally behind it to defy the rich and the powerful that will lose because of it," he said.

De Guzman said that they will campaign in Congress to get legislative approval on their platforms, but if they still encounter dissent, they would turn to the mass movement to force the hands of lawmakers into approving their proposals.

"Kung 'yun ay mangyayari at maipaliwanag pa ng todo sa mga taong nasa Kongreso na panimula’y umaayaw, tingin ko mauubusan sila ng mukhang ihaharap sa kanilang constituent at mao-obliga silang sundin at suportahan ang mga panukala para sa kagalingan ng mamamayang Pilipino,” he said.

(If that will happen and we can explain further to people in Congress who are initially reluctant, I think they will not be able to face their constituents and they will be forced to follow and support our proposals for the betterment of Filipinos.)




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