Unionists press for TRAIN’s revocation and higher living wages

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LABOR groups Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and Socialista on Monday demanded the scrapping of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion otherwise known as TRAIN due to the high cost it would bring on petroleum products and the subsequent domino effect it entails on the cost of living.

The demand was made during a protest action at the historic Mendiola Bridge where aside from calling for the repeal of train, the progressive protesters also demanded an increase to the living wages to offset the impacts of TRAIN on their already constrained familial budget.

The living wage, the two groups explained, is the amount of family income needed to provide for the family’s food and non-food expenditures to enable the family to live and maintain a decent standard of human existence. They also added the right to living wages of all Filipino workers is enshrined in Section 3 Article XIII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

At the same time, the BMP and Socialista claimed that Duterte’s TRAIN as “ruthlessly anti-poor for placing them at the losing end as corporations merely transfer their tax obligations to the consuming public.”

“The very character of this administration’s revenue generating imposition is to liberate the already affluent economic elite of their duties and make the laborers and the poor bear the yoke of Duterte’s infrastructure plan which we will not also directly benefit from,” said BMP President Leody de Guzman.

The groups also deplored claims made by cabinet members that workers shall benefit from the new tax measures. They lamented that despite its refusal to abolish contractualization and failure to grant decent wages, the Duterte administration has the gall to tell workers that they too shall benefit even if prices of basic goods have already risen since the New Year.

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The BMP and Socialista explained that the lower economic strata such as minimum wage earners shall not benefit since they are already tax exempt since 2008. The slum dwellers and farm workers shall also not benefit because their income is erratic and their employment temporary.

De Guzman argued with the impacts of the new round of taxes taking effect, “it is not only timely but is also apt and justified. We have no other recourse but to pursue economic relief to keep their families economically buoyant.”

“We shall rightfully claim what is ours,” he insists referring to the much publicized the economic growth last year and projections for 2018.

“All those gains were generated mainly on the workers’ collective productivity. Besides, it is our constitutionally guaranteed right to receive our fair share of our labor.”

The leaders claimed that their demonstration at Mendiola shall be the first of many escalating protest actions in various cities nationwide until the government concedes and grants them their demands.

The next protest is scheduled to take place on the twenty-third of January.

Nelson Flores, J.D., MSCK
A former reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Standard Today, and a regular columnist of the Metro Manila based daily tabloid newspaper Hataw; Nelson Flores is also the former Senior Associate Editor of the Houston based Fil-Am Press and former anchor of dzXL and dzRJ's weekend talk show Usaping Bayan. Mr. Flores has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Law degrees from the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University and a holder of a study certificate from the Diocesan House of Studies, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). He is a Freemason and member of Reagan Lodge 1037 in Houston Heights under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas and a member of the Missionary Society of Christ the King (MSCK).

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