National minimum wage, 4Ps: Senate hopefuls bare priority bills

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2019 08:53 PM

Rafael Alunan, Neri Colmenares, Samira Gutoc, Florin Hilbay, Harry Roque, Mar Roxas and Erin Tañada. File/ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Seven Senate hopefuls bared the bills and measures they will prioritize should they be elected in the upcoming May 2019 elections.

Speaking on CNN Philippines' second Senatorial Forum on Sunday, Rafael Alunan, Neri Colmenares, Samira Gutoc, Florin Hilbay, Harry Roque, Mar Roxas and Erin Tañada shared the measures they will prioritize should they become part of the Senate.

Alunan focused on four issues: educational reform, reforming the criminal justice system, protecting those who don't have the means to protect themselves, and securing the country by improving the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"Build a nation, protect the people, secure the country and sustain the effort," he said.

"We have to bring back ethics in our daily life. We've lost it, and that's why we have to recover it in our institutions and by making sure that our families instill the proper values in our people," Alunan also said.

Colmenares, for his part, said he will prioritize a bill that will prohibit contractualization of workers, as well as a bill that will implement a national minimum wage.

"Isang batas na walang patumpik-tumpik na magbabawal sa kontraktuwalisasyon. Isang batas na nagsasaad ng mataas na sahod, at hindi lang mataas na sahod, national minimum wage para buong bansa, tataas ang sahod," he said.

(A law that will prohibit contractualization right away. A law that will implement a higher minimum wage, and not only a higher minimum wage, but a national minimum wage.)

Gutoc said she will focus on the implementation of peace education.

"Mine is an acceptance that we the people, we, 'yung mga maliliit at iniitsapwera ng ating lipunan ay kasama po. Paano po? Peace education starts from the primary level where young people learn to accept that they can... they can make things change. They can accept other tribal peoples as their classmates. They can actually read books of history, that they're not just about our Catholic nation, but also of our ethnicities and various identities of 7,100 islands," she said.

"Peace education guarantees children against bullying. Peace education guarantees a population not sleeping against rape jokes by some of our elites. Peace education reminds us of decency and respect. Peace education ensures that we are Filipinos and our values are not erased," Gutoc added.

Hilbay, on the other hand, said he will prioritize a law that will provide social assistance not only to poor families, but also to those who need help.

"Ang naiisip ko po, ang pinakasimpleng batas na ating puwedeng ipasa ay 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), also known as 4Ps and form) na pangmalawakan, para hindi lang para sa mahirap, kundi para sa naka-graduate, para sa mga walang trabaho," he said.

(I think the simplest law we can pass is an expanded 4Ps that will not only benefit the poor, but also those who need jobs.)

"Kung ikaw ay nakalubog sa putik ng kahirapan, hindi ka makagalaw. Kailangan kang mai-angat ng kaunti ng ating pamahalaan. At 'yun ang trabaho ng ating pamahalaan, ang magbukas ng oportunidad, magbukas ng mga pintuan para sa mga nasa laylayan," Hilbay added.

(If you are stuck in poverty, you won't be able to move. The government would need to help you get out of it, and that's what the government should do, provide opportunities and open doors for those in the lowest level of society.)

Roque said he will work on a zero hunger bill, as well as providing free irrigation for farmers.

"Nandiyan din po ang irigasyon. Ang problema po, bagama't libre na po ang irigasyon, ang kailangan po doblehin pa ang irigasyon para sa bayang ito. 'Pag ako po ay nasa Senado, unang ipa-file natin, zero hunger bill, dapat wala nang nagugutom sa Pilipinas sa loob ng 10 taon," he said.

(There is also the problem of irrigation. Although it is free, we have to double the amount of irrigation projects in this country. Once I get elected in the Senate, I will file a zero hunger bill where nobody will go hungry in the Philippines within 10 years.)

Repealing the excise tax and tax incentives provisions in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, and requiring telecommunications companies to improve their internet services are among the issues Roxas said he will prioritize.

"Unang una, ire-repeal ko, maghahain ako ng panukala para ma-repeal ang probisyon sa paglalagay ng buwis sa produktong petrolyo na nakapaloob sa TRAIN 1 at TRAIN 2," he said.

(I will submit a bill repealing the provision on imposing excise tax on fuel in the TRAIN 1 and TRAIN 2 law.)

"Pangalawa po, tututulan ko 'yung kilos ng Department of Finance na tanggalin ang mga incentives na siyang nag-iimbita o nag-aalok para ang mga investor ay dito magtayo ng kanilang mga pabrika, ng mga pagawaan," Roxas added.

(I will reject the proposal of the Department of Finance to remove incentives for investors.)

For Roxas, investors create more jobs and removing the incentives for them will affect workers.

"Paano tayo lilikha ng trabaho kung ang mga investors ay hindi natin iwe-welcome dito. Dapat swabe silang makapasok dito, ayusin natin 'yung mga red tape, para nang sa gayon mabilis silang makapaglikha ng trabaho dito sa ating bansa," he said.

(How can we create more jobs if we don't welcome investors. It should be easy for them to enter the country. We should remove red tape so that they can help create more jobs for the country.)

Tañada said he will also work on the implementation of a higher minimum wage that will be implemented nationwide.

"Ang unang importanteng kailangang bigyan ng pansin at kung ako'y papalaring maging senador ay ang usapin ng suweldo dahil alam nga po natin na tumataas ang presyo ng bilihin sa bansa at itong usapin ng sweldo ang susi kung paano haharapin ng ating mga manggagawa at empleyado itong pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin," he said.

(The first important issue I will work on, should I get elected in the Senate is the issue of wages because we know the prices of goods is increasing and wages is the key to how employees can face the increase in prices.)

"'Pag tumaas po ang presyo ng langis, nationwide. Kapag tumaas po ang presyo ng bigas, nationwide. Kapag tumaas po ang presyo ng kuryente, kung minsan po mas mahal ang presyo ng kuryente sa probinsya kaysa sa Metro Manila. And yet, kung titingnan nga po natin, ang minimum wage po dito sa Metro Manila ay mas mataas sa iba't ibang mga region," Tañada said.

(When oil prices increase, it is implemented nationwide. When rice prices increase, it is implemented nationwide. When the price of electricity increase, sometimes, electricity rates are higher in the provinces that in Metro Manila. And yet, the minimum wage in Metro Manila is higher than that in the regions.)