Gov’t owes Filipino workers P1.349 trillion – labor group
MANILA, Philippines — The government owes P1.349 trillion to Filipino workers, a labor leader said Wednesday, citing a study conducted by the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Leody de Guzman, BMP chairman, said the government must pay workers a “just share in the fruits of production” for helping in the growth of the country’s economy.
“Sa kabila ng pagtetengang-kawali ni [President Rodrigo] Duterte at mga kaalyado nito sa Kongreso’t Senado sa aming kahilingan para sa national wage, dapat singilin ng manggagawa si Duterte bilang pinuno ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas, ng halagang P1.349 trilyon dahil sa iniunlad ng ekonomya bunga ng aming produktibidad,” De Guzman said in a statement.
[Though President Duterte and his allies in the House and Senate have been playing deaf to our plea for a national wage, workers should charge Duterte as head of the Philippine government for the amount of P1.349 trillion for the growth of the economy as a result of our productivity.]
The study showed that from 2001 to 2017, the economy grew by an aggregate of 217.37%, while nominal average wages only grew by 92.43 percent.
Based on these numbers mapped on 240 working days per year, De Guzman said the government owed Filipino workers P1.349 trillion.
“Sabi ng Konstitusyon, ang manggagawa ay dapat na bigyan ng just share in the fruits of production for his efforts. Malaki na ang iniunlad ng ating gross domestic product sa nagdaang taon subalit hindi naman ramdam ng manggagawa ang pag-unlad sa kanilang mga buhay,” he added.
[According to the Constitution, workers should be given a just share in the fruits of production for his efforts. The growth in our gross domestic product has been big in the past year, but workers don’t feel any progress in their lives.]
According to De Guzman, the study only proves that the economic growth of a country means the same growth for its workers, adding that wage increases are only negated by the high price of commodities.
“Makatuwiran ang hiling naming manggagawa. Hindi namin hinihingi ang buong kita ng kompanya. Ang hinihingi namin ay sumabay ang aming antas ng pamumuhay sa inaabot na pag-unlad ng lipunan,” De Guzman said.
[What workers have been asking for are reasonable. We are not asking for the entire profits of the company. What we we are asking for is for our standard of living to be at the same level of progress achieved by society.]
BMP President Luke Espiritu, for his part, said the government could pay their debt to workers through tax exemptions.
“Para mabayaran ng gobyerno ang utang at masuklian ang kontribusyon sa paglago ng ekonomya at panlipunang pag-unlad, huwag na nitong buwisan ang mga manggagawa – sa anyo man ng withholding at income tax, EVAT [extended value added tax], at excise tax. At sa halip, ay kunin ang pondong kinakailangan para sa panlipunang serbisyo sa mga mayayamang kapitalista at dayuhang imbestor,” Espiritu said.
[To pay for our contribution to the growth of the economy and society, the government could refrain from taxing workers through the withholding or income tax, EVAT, and excise tax. Instead, it should get the funds needed for social services from rich capitalists and foreign investors.]