Workers slam govt officials’ huge salaries and perks

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LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned Pres. Benigno Aquino today over the huge salaries and perks being enjoyed by Cabinet officials, saying the country’s workers are suffering from very meager wages, hunger and poverty.

KMU was reacting to the Commission on Audit’s 2011 report on government officials’ salaries and allowances, which showed many Cabinet secretaries earning more than P1 million in the past year, with Foreign Affairs Sec. Alberto del Rosario earning almost P3 million.

“Witness ‘daang matuwid (straight path)’ in action: legalized amassing by government officials of wealth from the people’s money. Those who pledge to serve the country through government positions are serving themselves and have become wealthier,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“These salaries and perks come from workers’ and the people’s taxes. Government officials are making themselves wealthier out of the labor of people whose wages are not even enough for their families’ basic needs,” he added.

“Cabinet officials are making themselves richer while the Filipino people are getting poorer and hungrier. They dare take huge salaries and perks while working to make the people’s situation even worse,” he said.

The labor center said the P424 minimum wage in Metro Manila, the highest in the country, when multiplied to 314 days, amounts to a mere P133,136 per worker a year – a far cry from the more than P1 million that many Cabinet officials got last year.

“Perhaps huge salaries and perks make it easier for government officials to implement policies that worsen hunger and poverty. The bigger their salaries and wealth, the farther they are from the situation of the poor,” Labog said.

“The distance between the salaries received by high government officials and the wages received by ordinary workers is the distance between the present society and an ideal one. In an ideal society where workers and government officials are equally valued, the distance would not be as huge,” he added.

KMU has been pushing for the passage of House Bill 375 which was filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano and seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide.

It has also been pushing for House Resolution 2783, which was filed by the same lawmaker and seeks to hold a congressional inquiry into the Two-Tiered Wage System, which workers say is imposing a significant cut in workers’ wages.

KMU will lead a nationwide protest on Nov. 30, day of the working-class hero Andres Bonifacio, which will call for a P125 across-the-board wage hike, the junking of the new wage scheme, and other demands.

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