President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Saturday directed Labor Secretary Marianito Roque to speed up the ongoing tripartite negotiations on wage hikes as well as to immediately address the pending labor cases before the National Labor Relations Commission.
Mrs. Arroyo made the call at Saturday’s Labor Day celebration. The Labor Day celebration was marked by jobs and livelihood fairs at the SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City. Mrs. Arroyo’s call was meant to appease the persistent call of labor leaders and workers for a P75 increase in wage in National Capital Region and P100 increase in Cebu.
“Sinabi ko kay Nitoy na gawin ang paraan na mapabilis ang tripartite (I told [Labor Secretary Marianito] Nitoy Roque to exhaust all means to fast track the tripartite [negotiations]),” she said in her speech highlighting her administration’s efforts to generate 9 million jobs since she assumed office in 2001.
She also assured that the labor complaints will be immediately addressed responding to the pronouncement made by Victorino Balais, president of Transport and General Workers Organization (PTGWO)-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) that the government has overlooked the labor injustices in the country.
Mrs. Arroyo said the government has dispatched 42 labor arbiters to settle labor cases.
Balais’ statement apparently had upset the outgoing President, who was seen chatting with Roque while the PTGWO-TUCP leader was delivering his welcome remarks.
The President even noted that under her nine-year watch, the Philippines had high wages for workers compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors and low incidence of labor strikes, particularly in 2009, which had only four labor strikes.
During the ceremony, Mrs. Arroyo received five-year labor roadmaps for full decent work from Balais with assurance that in the remaining months of her leadership, she would continue to promote the welfare and interest of the labor workers.
Assisted by Roque, she led the awarding of the DoLE livelihood checks, scholarship certificates from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and scholarships from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. –CHARISSA M. LUCI, Manila Bulletin