ORGANIZED labor has rejected the proposal to impose tax on salty food and food ingredients, saying it would push informal sector workers and their families deeper into poverty.
Workers group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), the country’s biggest labor group, on Monday recommended instead that government develop healthier, affordable and accessible alternatives.
“There is no need to tax salty food and ingredients at this time. We rather strongly recommend government to develop research-and-development-based healthier, cheaper alternatives and options and make these accessible in the market,” said Gerard Seno, ALU-TUCP national executive vice president.
He pointed out that poor workers are aware they are consuming unhealthy food but that is what they can afford with their meager salaries.
“Workers and the poor informal workers and their families’ affinity to salty food is bound by their inadequate income and lack of alternatives in the market. They cannot afford to buy healthier food choices and food ingredients with their measly income level,” Seno said.
The country’s minimum wage ranges from the highest at P537 a day and the lowest at P280 a day.
Aside from developing alternatives and raising wages, government must regulate private manufacturing firms to reformulate the standard sodium contents of food, food ingredients and snacks, Seno said.
Government should also pick up the slack in its responsibility to conduct massive education and information dissemination informing its citizens about better alternatives and healthier food and ingredients options, he added.