A day before impeachment decision] Workers picket Metro wage board anew, slam Aquino

One day before the Senate renders its decision on the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice, workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the Metro Manila wage board office to condemn the P30 Cost of Living Allowance granted to minimum wage earners in the region, slamming the President for using the government to serve the interests of big capitalists.

Citing Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’s retrieval of documents from the Anti-Money Laundering Council against Chief Justice Renato Corona without any court order, the protestors said Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is using the government to advance his interests, but not those of the country’s workers.

“As the Ombudsman’s testimony shows, Pres. Aquino can even break the law to push for the Chief Justice’s impeachment, maintain his family’s control over Hacienda Luisita, and tighten his control over the entire government,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“If there is a will, there is a way. On the issue of wage hikes, the president does not have the will to stand for workers demanding a significant wage hike. He only has the will to protect big capitalists’ profits,” he added.

To demonstrate their anger, the workers posted enlarged photos of the President and of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on the wage board office’s wall and threw red paint at these.

The protest was held on the day that the one-year ban on increasing wages in Metro Manila ended and one week before the resumption of classes.

“Pres. Aquino does not have any qualms about using the government to advance his and his family’s interests and to insult workers who are now trying to find ways of paying for their children’s tuition and other fees in school,” Labog said.

“Even with the additional P30 COLA, the minimum wage in Metro Manila is still miles away from the amount needed daily by an average Filipino family to live decently. It will neither provide for workers’ basic needs nor will it be enough for enrollment costs,” he added.

KMU cited an April 2012 study of independent think-tank Ibon Foundation showing that the Family Living Wage in Metro Manila currently stands at P993.

“For the workers and the poor, the impeachment trial and the approval of a mere P30 COLA in Metro Manila show that Pres. Aquino is using the government to serve his interests and those of big capitalists,” Labog said.

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