A bill providing a nationwide P750 daily wage increase for all private sector workers has been filed in the House of Representatives.
Makabayan bloc lawmakers and House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro, House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas and Kabataan party-list Representative Raoul Manuel made the proposal under House Bill 7568 which will cover both agricultural and non-agricultural enterprises in the private sector “to attain a living wage.”
Brosas said such an amount is justified, given that the amount represents the average gap between current minimum wage levels and the family living wage across various regions.
According to the IBON Foundation, the minimum wage in Metro Manila was P570/day while the family living wage was calculated at P1,161/day.
The gap is even wider at the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where the minimum wage was P341/day and the family living wage was P1,944/day.
“This yawning average minimum wage-family living wage gap of P750 across regions starkly represents the vast sea of unfulfilled basic necessities of ordinary Filipino families, which the national government should urgently address through substantial wage increases amid historic inflationary surges,” Brosas said in a statement.
The authors also cited the BusinessWorld Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines report which showed that the aggregate gross revenue of the top companies jumped 17.5% in 2021 or P13.44 trillion from the P11.44 trillion posted during the height of the pandemic in 2020, the fastest gross revenue growth since the 24.4% expansion recorded in 2001.
"Tumataas ang tubo ng mga kumpanya tapos may savings pa sa mas mababang buwis sa ilalim ng CREATE Law, ngunit hindi naman tumataas ang sahod ng mga manggagawa," Brosas added.
(Companies’ earnings go up and they also got savings for lower taxes under the CREATE law, but the workers’ wages remain stagnant.)
As for the micro and small enterprises, Brosas said a wage subsidy program will be instituted to assist them in complying with the proposed significant wage increase.
In closing, Brosas called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to certify House Bill 7568 as urgent to bring direct and concrete relief to millions of Filipino workers across the country.
"Significant wage increase is long overdue. Imbis na Charter Change ang atupagin ng gobyerno, dapat nitong gawing prayoridad ang umento sa sahod upang makapagbigay alwan sa tumitinding krisis sa ating bansa," Brosas said.
(Instead of the Charter change, the government should prioritize giving a wage hike to give workers relief from the worsening crisis in our country.)
However, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) argued most businesses were micro and small enterprises that would not be able to afford the wage hike.
"Ang beneficiary rin niyan would be 10-16% lang. The other 84% will suffer because of it," said ECOP President Sergio Ortiz Luis in Tina Panagiban-Perez's Monday 24 Oras report.
As to complaints that what wage boards authorize was inadequate, Luis said, "Kulang naman lahat kahit hindi binibigay ng wage boards. Talagang everybody is suffering from it. What can you do?"
The Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands, meanwhile, suggested that the Philippines' minimum wage needed to match those of neighboring Asian countries.
"We should benchmark Philippine purchasing power parity of minimum wage with ASEAN countries so that we do not become uncompetitive with our ASEAN neighbors," said Chamber President Jose Luis Yulo Jr. —DVM/KG, GMA Integrated News