Protesters urge gov't to raise minimum wage, lower prices
Thousands who joined the protest to mark the 159th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio called on the government to increase the daily minimum wage of P570 and lower prices,
After the group of protesters conducted a short program in Plaza Miranda, Liwasan Bonifacio and Carriedo around 9 am, they marched towards Mendiola where they ended their rally.
The protest that was joined by some personalities including the last May election presidential candidate Leodegario "Ka Leody" De Guzman, Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raoul Manuel and Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes.
In an interview with the Daily Manila Shimbun, De Guzman said the government should increase the minimum wage to 750 pesos.
"The salary of the local employees should increase as the current minimum wage is not enough because of very high prices of commodities," said de Guzman, eighth in the 2022 presidential election.
"We urge the government to increase the minimum wage to 750 (pesos), let's give the 180 pesos additional from the present minimum wage, although the living wage is still far from it which is 1,119 pesos, I think the 750 pesos can already help our workers," he added.
De Guzman said the government should prioritize protecting Filipino workers over foreign businessmen.
"We call for the protection of the local workers because of the increasing prices now. Many of our countrymen do not have jobs while those who have jobs only have very low salary, so for the celebration of Gat Andres Bonifacio day we ask for government to prioritize the protection of our workers," he said.
"The vat was passed to the people, maybe it is the right time for the big businessmen to sacrifice for the country, that is why we also ask the government to implement wealth tax, stop the vat, and excise tax because it increases the prices of gasoline and others," he added.
De Guzman said around 10,000 members from different partylist, labor and human rights groups are expected to join the rally that ends in Mendiola on Wednesday morning.
Manila Police Station 3 CommanderLt. Col. Ramon Czar Solar said the protest in Plaza Miranda was peaceful despite some traffic problems that occurred along Carriedo St. up to MacArthur Bridge when the labor group converged in the area around 9am.
"So far peaceful, orderly, peacefully terminated. They only want to voice out their grievances, no violent incident monitored," he said. Robina Asido/DMS