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“Bawal magkasakit” as the tagline of a well-marketed multivitamin brand goes or “You can NOT get sick,” as if it were a matter of choice should you start feeling under the weather, catch a cold, get bitten by a dengue infected mosquito, among many other illnesses abound in the country.

Falling ill is almost signing a death sentence.

Not because a particular ailment is deadly; rather, how the common Filipino cannot even begin to overcome how much it will cost to purchase medicine, let alone consult a doctor and get to and from the hospital, any hospital, really.

The “Health Care System”

10 billion pesos was just recently slashed from the health care budget. Meanwhile congress is set to enjoy Php 100milliion in pork barrel because every individual voted into office is more important than the health of the people that placed them into power.

Government: 1 – Filipino People: 0

Just in the Philippine General Hospital alone where the 4000 strong staff most of which contract-based, is still not enough for the more than 650,000 patients a year that seek “treatment needed, nevermind deserve.” as mentioned in a heavily worded post by Dr. Gene Nisperos, president of the UP Academic Employees Union-Manila Chapter, seen here:

Politicians: Php 100,000,000/ politician – Filipino People: 0

The same government that promised that it will take care of you is throwing us under the bus packing poison-tipped spikes in the undercarriage.

What’s worse is that we’re letting them. Even then, we’ve barely scratched the surface being on thin ice with death.

Something as fundamental as a code of conduct between employers and their employees are rigged in favor of the capitalists. 30 years of this and not a single politician considered changing the terms and conditions of “fair play” amongst the same people that pay their salaries and bonuses.

The Labour Code

Many aspects of this code that  was meant to “protect” the labour worker, in fact, does no. A quick citation on article 91, section A “Right to weekly rest day” that

“It shall be the duty of every employer, whether operating for profit or not, to provide each of his employees a rest period of not less than twenty-four (24) consecutive hours after every six (6) consecutive normal work days.”

Where the government literally allows plutocrats to enslave you for 6 days of your week in exchange for minimum wage. 

Exactly the article right after states that “When employer may require work on a rest day. The employer may require his employees to work on any day:”

  1. In cases of urgent work to be performed on the machinery, equipment, or installation, to avoid serious loss which the employer would otherwise suffer;
  2. In the event of abnormal pressure of work due to special circumstances, where the employer cannot ordinarily be expected to resort to other measures;
  3. To prevent loss or damage to perishable goods;
  4. Where the nature of the work requires continuous operations and the stoppage of work may result in irreparable injury or loss to the employer;

All of which underlines that the employer must not lose profit, in any form, based on lack of you being in the workplace – a lack of you means no one is tending to the business.

Should you miss even a single hour that caused the employer’s machinery, perishable goods, high demand, and production,  to spoil, malfunction, or basically any reason that the company loses profit, you can just as readily have water and electricity cut-off in the foreseeable future.

I can go on and list the multitude of ways employers can pull those strings yet nothing has been done since its inception when Marcos had it approved – most likely authored, and lobbied to no end to have senate and congress pass this code of conduct for employers.

In sum, a legal contract for Filipinos to remain slaves of the system.

Consider then missing a day because you just could not, and, because the company lost profit over your absence, it’ll be very easy to replace you with someone more eager to work undeterred by cold sweats or dysentery.

Yet people are fine being treated as such because the alternative is worse; there is none.

Capitalists: 1 – Filipino people: 0

Wage that can barely feed a family

Almost anyone with a college degree plus experience can earn more than the minimum wage. Everyone else below a diploma, however, aren’t so lucky most of the time.

Let’s get things into perspective:

  • Let’s assume that you’re expecting Php 537 pesos for a day of work,
  • Average days in a month of work is 20 days, 
  • That lands the minimum wage worker at Php 10,740,
  • 1 sick day is Php 537 deducted, 
  • Medical expenses are a minimum of Php 300 just for a check-up,
  • In case you caught a bacterial infection, the cheapest antibacterial prescription is at Php 7 that you will have to consistently take for 2 weeks twice a day. That’s Php 196,
  • Let’s say your meal is at Php 50 pesos per meal at three times a day. That’s Php 150,
  • Add to that your commute of 100 pesos round-trip. At 6 hours on the road for the entirety of the commute, 
  • Even without the medication, you’re already halfway through your daily income,
  • What more of your meals during the weekends which are not counted here,
  • What more if you had a family, children who go to school, an ailing parent, and
  • All of these on top of rent, water and electricity bills among other things. 

And your government has the gall to call this “fair” wage that is survivable amid inflation, amid consistent inflation for the last 30 years.

Which, by the way, I realize most do not understand, that a 5% inflation for this year, for example, is not better than 6% of inflation that of last year, for example.

What this means is that the 5% inflation of commodities this year is added to the already inflated 6% that of last year.

In short: If we bought a shirt  for Php 100 two years ago, a 6% inflation means that shirt will cost Php 106 last year, and a 5% inflation means we’re looking at paying Php 111.3 for that same shirt.

Government: n*inflation+n*taxes – Filipino people: minimum wage

photo: Hans Erickson Lim

Death and Taxes

Despite all the shenanigans and all that time convincing the average Filipino that the Train Law was meant to ease up on taxes for the Filipino people, it doesn’t and never did.

The very first thing they taxed was petrol or gasoline. The literal driving force of goods and commodities in the country was taxed by more than twice from Php 4.35 per litre to Php 10 per litre.

In case you weren’t aware, any and all costs of delivering goods to the market is billed on top of those you buy. You’re effectively paying 10 pesos extra for everything that you have bought including for the fuel you paid for getting your groceries or coming from the palengke or wet market.

Imagine this: that cup of rice, that pancit canton packet, that can of sardines, the galunggong or mackerel, the bawang and sibuyas (onions and garlic), that packet of concentrated, powdered orange juice, those fresh veggies, that cup of coffee, and even your medicine. All of these are taxed extra because the government thoroughly thought out what they were going to tax anyway.

Remember that shirt I used as an example? That shirt now costs Php 160 pesos thanks to the cost of delivering the raw cotton materials to the warehouse, the cost of delivering from warehouse to factory, the cost of powering the machines, as well as the cost of delivering the finished product to the retailers. All of which just to bring you your plain white shirt.

What’s worse is that all of the hard-earned money we gave up to the government is literally being pocketed as they announce they wish to purchase a private jet, bonuses, and to fund the businesses of someone that paid for their election campaign. Literally asking the Filipino people to pay for his business.

Philippine Government: luxurious living – Filipino people: poverty

Yet we let them anyway.

Mabuhay, Pinas.

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