Saturday, April 4, 2020

Nagkaisa demands income guarantees; calls on legislators, high govt officials to donate salaries, allowances

Almost three weeks into the enactment of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, we find ourselves far from achieving its objectives.

Nagkaisa calls on government to deliver assistance with dispatch. A number of workers in several baranggays covered by ECQ had received minimal to zero assistance from government in the three weeks.

TUPAD has become yet another promise unfulfilled. CAMP, a cash assistance program for daily wage earners who continue to lose their income has so far failed owing to administrative difficulties related to filing and distribution. Meanwhile, the Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) is a disaster waiting to happen as it threatens to tear up social cohesion at the community level.

While social distancing is necessary to stop the virus, this does not apply to governance. Ever since the lockdown, government has distanced itself from workers. social dialogue is experiencing a slow and painful death.

While the government doesn’t listen to workers, it now threatens to shoot those who speak against its ill-conceived policies. This tragedy is worse than Covid-19 itself.

Even if CAMP, TUPAD and ESP are fully implemented, it will fall short of providing workers with food and other basic necessities. Workers need to at least receive the minimum wage.

We call on government to allocate more funds and top-off its current assistance to ensure Income Guarantees for all that amounts to the prevailing minimum wage.

To ensure more funds are allotted to workers, legislators can help twice as much if they gave up their pork barrel in favor of the Covid-19 response and donated their salaries and allowances for the duration of the lockdown to daily wage earners and informal economy workers who lost their incomes and livelihoods. We make a similar call to all high government officials in the executive and legislative branches to make the sacrifice.

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