Cebu News

Not just higher wages: Labor groups promote bets

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - As the nation celebrated Labor Day yesterday, rallies normally calling for higher wages and worker benefits turned into political rallies as three different cause-oriented groups also campaigned for their candidates and partylists.

Bayan-Central Visayas chairman Jaime Paglinawan said that their group is campaigning for senatorial bet Neri Colmenares, PISTON Partylist, Kabataan Partylist, and Akbayan Partylist.

Aside from campaigning, Paglinawan said that their group nationwide is calling for a P750 per day legislated wage hike and also for the abolition of the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board.

Bayan is also with the group AMA-Sugbo-KMU, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and Gabriela aside from the said partylists mentioned earlier.

Another group of rallyists was spearheaded by Partido ng Manggagawa-Cebu and SENTRO together with former Akbayan Partylist representative and senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros. This group supports the senatorial bid of former Akbayan Partylist Representative Walden Bello and the PM and Akbayan partylists.

The third group of rallyists was spearheaded by Sanlakas-Cebu, who supports its own partylist and the bid of senatorial candidates Dado Valerosa, Bello, Colmenares, Allan Montano, Levi Baligod, Susan Ople, and Lorna Kapunan.

Sanlakas is also with the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and Freedom from Debt Coalition.

The three different groups called on the next president of this country to end labor contractualization which according to them adds to the poverty of the working sector.

Senatorial candidate Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez vowed yesterday to send to jail employers who would continue the practice of contractualization should Congress declare this illegal.

Romualdez said if elected to the Senate he will prioritize in his legislative agenda the regularization of workers, stressing that contractualization bars ordinary employees from making better plans for their families. He also said he will put an end to the "endo" practice since the absence of job tenure contributes to poverty.

 Meanwhile presidential aspirants Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Mar Roxas said if elected they will carry out measures to improve the plight of the country's army of informal waste workers.

The three candidates provided their ideas through the responses they gave to the questions on wastes and toxics asked by the EcoWaste Coalition, a chemical safety and zero waste advocacy group.

 In a statement, the coalition said that the presidential aspirants were asked by the group about their plans to ensure that the informal waste workers are duly recognized for their contributions to the environment and the economy, and are provided with safe and secured jobs.

"Waste workers will benefit from the grant-for-work program my administration will introduce to complement the conditional cash transfer program. Through this initiative, we will indirectly formalize waste workers by enlisting them as agents contracted by the state," Santiago said.

For Poe, "the economic and social contributions of the sector in reducing collection and disposal costs must be recognized and incorporated as part of the framework of reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, and redesign that governs waste management at the local level."

Poe added that once the waste recovery activities of the informal waste sector are integrated into mainstream waste management, it must be ensured that they are given access to health services and education.

According to Roxas "the informal sector plays a very important role in recovering much of the usable portions of the waste and must be integrated into the formal solid waste management system of local government units to maximize the recovery of compostable, recyclables and reusable portions of the waste." — /BRP (FREEMAN)

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