An ecumenical group has urged the Philippine government to prioritize addressing the country’s economic and social concerns, rather than amending the constitution.
“Charter change should be the least of our lawmakers’ concerns,” said Rochelle Porras, executive director of the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER).
She said the government must “focus its resources and time in addressing gut issues” of the poor sectors “such as low wages, high prices of basic commodities, and widespread job insecurity”.
The group made the statement after campaigns pushing for Charter change were made public through TV ads and signature drives.
Porras said the government should focus on the monthly salaries of minimum wage earners, which she said has fallen “below the monthly poverty threshold across all regions in the country”.
In [the capital region], the minimum wage workers only earn an average of PHP 13,218 monthly while the poverty threshold is at PHP 13,741. This means that workers’ wages are barely half of the living wage standard set at PHP 25,839, according to EILER.
The group argued that workers could not catch up with the “rapidly increasing” prices of basic goods. It noted that the “real wages” in the capital region “stagnated relatively since 2002”.
“Real wage refers to wages adjusted for inflation. The real wage in Metro Manila is PhP 496 in 2022, barely higher than the PhP 490 in 2002,” the group said.