Labor group wishes workers’ champion luck in fight with Marquez

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno wished boxing champion Manny Pacquiao luck in his fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 19, saying Pacquiao has the support of the country’s workers especially because he champions a legislated and significant wage hike.

In June 2011, Pacquiao signed as co-sponsor of the P125 Wage Hike Bill (House Bill 375), which was filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano and seeks to legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike for the country’s private-sector workers.

In Aug. 2012, the boxing champion gave a substantial donation to KMU’s relief drive for the victims of flooding caused by torrential rains.

“We support our champion and wish him luck in his fourth fight with Marquez. We cheer him on not only because he is a great Filipino boxer but also because he champions Filipino workers’ call for a significant wage hike,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“Pacquaio has shown us that his heart really is with workers and the country’s poor. He has the courage to lend his prestige to supporting workers’ long-standing call for a significant wage hike which the Aquino government has been rejecting,” he added.

Congressmen hit

The labor center also criticized congressmen who are planning to watch Pacquiao’s fight in Las Vegas, singling out Northern Samar Rep. Emil Ong, House Committee on Labor and Employment (CLE) chair.

“Even if they are using private money, congressmen are showing that they are insensitive towards the plight of Filipinos who are suffering from typhoon Pablo’s blows, on top of the widespread hunger, poverty and unemployment in the country,” Labog said.

“Rep. Ong should do a Pacquaio and push for the passage of the P125 Wage Hike Bill instead. It will surely anger the country’s workers if he watches Pacquiao’s fight in Las Vegas without passing the said measure, which needs his push for its advance in Congress,” he added.

The P125 Wage Hike Bill is awaiting a Luzon-wide consultation before it can be approved at the committee level and submitted to the House plenary for deliberations.

KMU said that leaders of the House CLE committee leaders months ago said that the Luzon-wide consultation can be foregone, only to say this November that it would still be needed.

Workers have been pressing for the immediate holding of the consultation, but House CLE leaders have so far failed to make arrangements for it.

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