MANILA - Party-list groups advocating workers' welfare want to push for specific issues if they are elected into the House of Representatives.

Speaking on ANC's "Beyond Politics," Rene Magtubo of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) party-list, Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis and Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar of Democratic Independent Workers' Association (DIWA) explained what each group wants to work for in Congress.

According to Magtubo, PM party-list will work for higher wages, lower taxes, and regulations on use of contractual labor.

"Concretely, gusto namin ireview ang Wage Rationalization Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6727). Gusto nating bumalik tayo doon sa wisdom of the constitution, magkaroon tayo ng living wage. But the problem is malaki ang agwat ng minimum wage versus cost of living o living wage para sa family of five. So ang proposal namin, to review the present law, magkaroon tayo ng national minimum wage na dapat ay nakabatay doon sa pangangailangan ng minimum wag earners. Then the institutionalization of collective bargaining and incentive schemes para 'yung gap na 'yun sa pagitan ng minimum wage at cost of living ay ma-address natin," he said.

His group will also work to increase employees' take home pay by pushing for tax incentives.

"Para matulungan din na maitaas ang take home pay ng mga manggagawa, isulong natin pare pareho, 'yung tax incentives sa mga manggagawa. I-reduce natin doon sa mga manggagawa na hindi pa sumusweldo ng living wage. Sa tingin namin, double burden sa kanila 'yun. Hindi ka na nga sumsweldo ng living wage, hindi mo na nga masuportahan ang pamilya mo, ita-tax ka pa ng gobyerno. Nagbabayad ka naman ng indirect tax through VAT."

Anakpawis, on the other hand, aims to work for agrarian reform to prevent farmers and other agrarian workers from flocking to urban centers.

"Ang tingin kasi namin, hindi hiwalay ang pagdami ng mga manggagawa sa mga urban centers ay dahil sa kawalan ng lupa. Kaya pangunahing isinusulong namin 'yung genuine Agrarian Reform Bill," Casilao said.

Aside from agrarian reform, Anakpawis will also push for industrialization and regularization of workers.

"'Yung National Industrialization Bill, na ngayong 17th Congress, kung kami ay papalarin na magkaroon pa, tuloy tuloy yung aming representasyon, unang una itong isusulong namin. Pangatlo, 'yung Regular Employment Bill, na hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay hindi pa rin naaksyunan. At pang-apat, 'yung Tax Reform Bill," Casilao said.

"Sa tingin namin, ito 'yung importante dahil 'yung mga manggagawang-bukid, kunwari sa mga plantasyon, ay napakalayo nung kanilang minimum wage. At the same time 'yung industrial workers, napakalayo rin doon sa sinasabi nating nakakabuhay na sweldo kaya't tingin natin, nasa P750 ang ihahapag natin," he added.

Meanwhile, one of the major issues that DIWA wants to address should they get a seat in Congress is the safety and health of workers.

"The next is occupational health and safety standards. In the past six years, there have been a lot of accidents in the workplace that have caused deaths. The last major one was the Kentex fire that claimed the lives of 74 workers. And this is because there's no focus and in fact, there's no legislation that actually ensures the occupational health and safety standards, and we should criminalize the violations of these health and safety standards," Aglipay-Villar said.

She, likewise, explained that DIWA aims to work for security of tenure to protect workers from abuse.

"We filed a bill in the 15th Congress and in the 16th Congress to ensure that the loopholes in the Labor Code are addressed in terms of making contractual workers, who do the work regular workers do, which are essential to the core business of the employers, they should become regular employees with the benefits that are attached to it. Because usually, fixed term employment and the probationary employment is used as a guise to avoid regularizing employees who deserve to be regularized," Aglipay-Villar explained.

DIWA is also pushing for more rights for informal sector workers in order to proved them with the benefits regular employees receive.

"Another issue that DIWA would like to push if for informal sector workers. Earlier, DIWA has already fought for the Batas Kasambahay, which protects our domestic workers but we should extend it further to other informal sector workers because they too deserve the benefits such as SSS, Philhealth and Pag-Ibig," Aglipay-Villar said.