Labor groups from different ideological leanings are endorsing the senatorial bid of Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) candidate Win Gatchalian who has a strong chance of making it to the Senate based on the surveys by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Station.
Gatchalian is among the 10 senatorial candidates officially endorsed by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) during its 8th National Convention and Workers’ Meeting de Avance yesterday at Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon City, which coincided with the International Day of Labor.
Some 1,000 trade union leaders under TUCP as well as local and international guests attended yesterday’s event which bannered the theme “Towards Decent Work and Equitable Development.” The TUCP endorsement further boosted Gatchalian’s chances of winning a Senate seat in the May 9 national elections.
“I am honored to address the leaders and members of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines – one of the most well-known and respected labor groups at the forefront of the fight to protect the interests of the noble Filipino worker. With humility, I accept your endorsement for my senatorial candidacy, and I extend to you my sincerest gratitude for the trust and confidence you have placed in me,” said Gatchalian.
It was during the April 15 TUCP Special General Council Meeting that it was agreed upon that Gatchalian would be among the 10 senatorial candidates that TUCP and its 40 national labor federation affiliates will fully support, according to TUCP President and former labor secretary Ruben Torres.
TUCP will campaign for Gatchalian in the form of union meetings, orientation programs, leafleting, materials posting, face-to-face and house-to-house campaigning at the enterprise, community, municipal, regional and national levels.
Later in the afternoon, Gatchalian’s senatorial bid was also endorsed by the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) who held its Labor Day rally at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila.
Gatchalian has previously urged the national government to increase the minimum wage amid a TUCP petition for a P154.00-increase for workers in the National Capital Region saying that the current wages are insufficient for the basic daily needs of poor Filipino families.
“The next increase in the minimum wage should be significant enough in order to have an effect on the social mobility of those at the bottom of the social pyramid and lift them from poverty,” said Gatchalian, a three-term mayor of Valenzuela City which used to be known as the “strike capital” of the Philippines.
The daily salary only rose by P15.00 following the wage order for Metro Manila issued in March last year. In effect, minimum wage went up to P481 for non-agricultural workers and P444 for agricultural workers.
Gatchalian cited the study of the research think tank IBON Foundation, which reported that a family of five in the National Capital Region needs around P906.67 to meet their basic needs. A family of six needs P1,088.00.
“Any wage increase should be high enough to fully address the basic needs of households, especially the poorest ones. A token increase is simply unacceptable. The increase should be high enough to help families escape from poverty traps,” Gatchalian pointed out. (Monica Cantilero)