Arroyo Backs Reasonable Wage Increase

May. 01, 2006

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared today, Labor Day, that her administration will support a reasonable wage increase the tripartite regional wage boards would recommend.

She said this would help alleviate the plight of the average Filipino worker hard hit by the rising cost of living in the wake of the new escalation of oil prices in the world market.

In her “Araw ng Paggawa 2006” (Labor Day) speech at Malacanangs Heroes Hall this afternoon, the President said the government is launching a number of non-wage benefits to ease the impact of high prices on the Filipino workers.

The Malacanang Labor Day activity was attended by hundreds of labor leaders and workers and business leaders. The theme of this years Labor Day celebration is Ang Galing Mo, Manggagawang Filipino.

The President said her administration has allotted P13 billion for additional allowances of state workers. She also instructed Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya to include P20 billion in next years national budget proposal for salary standardization of government workers.

“Our amelioration measures must not only affirm the paramount interest of our workers, but ease the plight of the average Filipino in the face of current pressures and difficulties,” the President said,

She said the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will put up a P60 million scholarship program for all qualified students, while the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will provide P44 million for health rehabilitation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

She said P100 million will be allotted to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to enable the governments leading public health institution to provide a more effective and quality service to the people, especially poor patients.

GSIS will help PhilHealth pay the hospitalization of its members, in addition to the contribution of the members of the state pension fund to PhilHealth amounting to P44 million, the President said.

She added that the government has allotted P40 million to pay the PhilHealth premiums of the informal sectors such as fishermen, hacienda workers, tricycle drivers, vendors and farmers.

For the wage earners, the President asked Congress to pass the tax exemption bill to further ease the burden of all minimum wage-earners.

She also announced that the Social Security System (SSS) and GSIS would extend their penalty condonation program for salary and housing loans totaling P12 billion.

To further reduce workers transport expenses, the President instructed Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) president Rey David and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) president Gilda Pico to approve the loans of employers and workers groups desiring to invest in transport facilities using cheap fuels like compressed natural gas (CNG). (Office of the Press Secretary)

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