MANILA, Philippines — A group of Filipinos, majority of which are males, stormed the office of the Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) last Saturday, demanding an immediate wage hike, due to increasing prices of “dating”.
The group, calling themselves Kilusan ng mga Umaaray na Romantikong Inis sa Pagtaas Presyo ng mga Produktong Sentimental (KURIPPPS), lead by Juanito Demarco, requested to have a dialogue with labor secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz to air out their concerns. After a few minutes, the secretary let select number of the protesters into her conference room to hear their demands.
In the said meeting, Demarco said that with the recent increase in the prices of fuel, lpg, transportation, toll, meat and vegetables, as well as an impending increase of flower prices, it is the consumers, primarily the romantics, who will shoulder the burden this Valentine’s season. There are also rumors that prices of cacao, the raw material used in producing chocolates, would also increase. Unrest in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, a major cocoa bean-producing country, is to blame for the looming price hike.
“When you step back and look at the bigger picture, you will see a chain reaction that affects us the most,” said Demarco. According to him:
- When fuel prices increases – transportation expenses go up, whether you own a car or take public transport (due to fare hike)
- When toll prices increase – romantic out-of-town escapades would cost more
- When lpg, meat and vegetable price increase – prices of restaurant menu items increase due to the cost of cooking the meal
- When flower prices increases – romantics have no choice but to still buy them, or else be labeled as kuripot (cheapskates)
- When chocolate prices increases – see above
Secretary Baldoz listened patiently to the member’s plight and promises to review them along with other DOLE officials and forward their recommendations to the President.
After only a few days, the government has announced the Pantawid Romansa Program, an aid for daters and romantics for the increasing prices of commodities during Valentine’s Day. The smart card enabled program, would come preloaded with two thousand pesos worth of discounts for various products and services. The initial list which have not yet been finalized includes discounts for flowers, gas, chocolates and candies, tolls, taxi fare, jewelries and stuffed toys. Other items can be added as well as promos in case something gets overlooked.
KURIPPPS welcomed the initiative and lauded the government for the swift action it has taken. “Nagpapasalamat po kami kay Pangulong Aquino, at sana ay maipamigay na ito sa lalong madaling panahon (We would like to thank President Aquino and hope that it could be distributed as soon as possible)”, said a member of the group.
“Hindi dapat mahal ang magmahal,” quipped another member.
Details for the distribution as well as eligibility for the program are still being ironed out as of press time.