Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

Tell it to SunStar: Prioritizing Cha-cha ‘deadly sinful’

By Student Christian Movement of the Philippines national chairman Kej Andres

We denounce President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on his unabated push for Charter change (Cha-cha) instead of heeding genuine calls of millions of Filipino workers for livable wage, better living conditions, and mass public transportation. We joined thousands of workers, students and concerned citizens in the annual Mayo Uno protest, International Day of Workers.

President Marcos Jr.’s sinful neglect of workers’ rights while he is persistently pushing for Cha-cha shows his preference for foreign investment over the welfare of ordinary Filipino folk. While the minimum wage is still far below the livable wage, Cha-cha, with its preference on foreign investment, will surely increase prices of utilities with unhampered means of foreigners to own and profit from our natural resources and enterprises.

According to government data, the average minimum wage is only P440. This is just a little over one third of the average family living wage of P1,207, for a family of five. The minimum wage of NCR (National Capital Region), P610, is just half of the FLW (family living wage). Wage increase under the Marcos Jr. administration has been disappointingly inadequate. Meanwhile, railroading for Cha-cha is said to be on the agenda when the House of Representatives resumes sessions by the end of April.

Marcos Jr.’s treatment of workers is a slow death for Filipinos when the minimum wage is just half of the family living wage. Meanwhile, the Marcos Jr. administration is also permitting high prices and foreseeable lack of reliable public transportation because of jeepney phaseout. Clearly, addressing the well-being of workers must be prioritized and anti-people policies such as jeepney phaseout and Cha-cha must be scrapped.

We will continue to be in solidarity with workers past-Mayo Uno through integration with workers, ministries, educational discussions and bigger mobilizations in order to push for a society that genuinely serves the interest of workers and other ordinary Filipinos.

As Marcos Jr. has been wilfully adamant on pushing genuine reforms for higher wages, we stand with millions of Filipino workers on the call: Living Wage, not Cha-cha! It is in the destiny of Filipino workers to pressure and foil Marcos Jr.’s administration which has been prioritizing pro-foreigner and anti-worker Cha-cha.

SunStar Publishing Inc.