As the nation commemorates the 38th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition stands resolute in its call for a PHP100 wage increase, aligning with the constitutional mandate for a living wage, and challenging the National Economic and Development Authority's (NEDA) cautious stance.
Nagkaisa asserts the necessity of a wage hike in consonance with the constitutional provision for a living wage, despite NEDA's concerns regarding potential inflationary pressures and impacts on economic growth.
Moreover, Nagkaisa raises pertinent questions about NEDA's advocacy for charter change (Cha-Cha) as a mechanism to enhance competitiveness by removing perceived "unnecessary" restrictions. This stance diverges from the immediate needs of Filipino workers and undermines the urgency of addressing prevailing economic disparities.
Nagkaisa emphasizes the distraction posed by the ongoing debate on charter change, underscoring the imperative for tangible actions to alleviate the challenges faced by the labor force.
While NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan champions Cha-Cha as a strategy to bolster competitiveness, Nagkaisa notes the absence of such reforms in NEDA's Philippine Development Plan (PDP), which Balisacan spearheaded. Furthermore, Nagkaisa expresses disappointment in NEDA's alignment with employer groups like ECOP and PCCI in consistently opposing wage hike proposals.
This discrepancy prompts scrutiny into the prioritization of policies with potential long-term implications over immediate measures like wage increases, which directly impact the quality of life for millions of Filipinos.
Drawing attention to the successful PHP25 wage increase in 1989 and its positive economic ramifications, Nagkaisa underscores the compatibility of substantial wage hikes with economic growth and stability.
Additionally, Nagkaisa highlights the necessity for equitable wage adjustments across all regions, emphasizing the Senate-approved PHP100 increase as a step forward but insufficient in meeting the living wage requirements for Filipino families.
Nagkaisa reiterates its concern regarding NEDA's endorsement of Cha-Cha, urging a focus on upholding the 1987 Constitution's mandate for social justice and living wages.