Farmers support calls for higher salaries, and wages for public and private sector workers

Need to cushion impact of Q4 ‘food price shocks’

“Wage and salary hikes are long-overdue. The supervening events of ever-rising inflation necessitate urgent and decisive action from the government. Agencies in charge should do more than just consider the granting of wage and salary hikes. Dapat na talagang magbigay ng dagdag sahod at sweldo sa mga manggagawa at kawani,” according to former DAR secretary Rafael Mariano who said that most Filipino families are reeling from the debilitating effects of consistent ‘food price shocks.’

Earlier, public sector unions called for an increase in the minimum wage to P33,000. Labor unions and workers’ groups on the other hand are united to push for a significant wage increase.

For several months now, prices of foodstuff have been going up, shocking consumers, ordinary wage earners, and even those in the middle-income bracket.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), inflation for the bottom 30 percent of income households continued its uptrend movement as it further increased to 7.3 percent in October, from 6.7 percent in September. The year-to-date inflation for this particular income group of consumers at the national level is now at 4.8 percent.

The food and non-alcoholic beverages index was pegged at 7.5 percent in October from the 6.5 percent record in September.

Meanwhile, the rising rates of housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels were recorded at 7.8 percent while inflation of transport costs is at a high of 9.8 percent.

Food inflation at the national level recorded an even higher rate of 7.7 percent in October from the previous 6.6 percent in September. In the same period, last year food inflation was observed at 5.4 percent.

The higher annual increase of 9.3 percent in vegetables in October 2022 primarily caused the higher inflation for food. Higher annual increments were also posted in the indices of the following food groups: cereals, flour, cereal preparation, bread, pasta, and other bakery products, meat, milk, cheese and eggs, oils, and fats. Recently, the DTI even announced a 6 to 19 percent increase in the SRP of Noche Buena items. “Tumaas nang lahat maliban sa sahod at sweldo. This issue of price hikes is not as simple as Sandro Marcos’s onion analogy. Filipinos need higher income and take-home pay to afford the increasing cost of living,” Mariano commented.

KMP is joining the nationwide Sahod Itaas, Presyo Ibaba petition signing that aims to confirm the broad public clamor for additional wages through legislation and collective negotiations. “Marcos Jr. only have two choices at this point — issue an Executive Order directing the significant lowering of prices through the removal of VAT and oil excise tax or certify as urgent the wage hike bills filed in Congress”, said Mariano.

The farmers’ group will also join the workers-led mobilization on November 30. ###

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