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TUCP welcomes Senate bill increasing minimum wage by P150

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) welcomed Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri's bill which seeks to increase the minimum wage of private workers by P150, as the group said the proposed adjustment is 'badly needed' by workers. 

“We welcome these various initiatives to increase wages of workers because these many proposals, especially spearheaded by the Senate President, underscore the badly needed wage adjustment in light of the erosion of the purchasing power of workers’ wages due to inflation," TUCP representative and Deputy Speaker Raymond Democrito Mendoza said in a statement.

The labor group said the current rates "are not decent wages that can sustain the health, productivity, and decent life of working Filipinos and their families trapped in the subsistence conditions as the stubbornly high inflation persists."

Zubiri earlier warned that Filipinos will be driven to work abroad if the government fails to increase the minimum wage.

“We have two choices: itaas natin ang sweldo ng mga manggagawa, o panoorin natin silang mangibang-bansa para sa mas magandang kita,” he said.

(Either we increase their salary or watch them leave the country for better pay.)

Zubiri said the daily wage in Metro Manila alone is about $10, while in other countries such as the United States, the rate is $10 per hour.

“Kaya mag-aalisan talaga sila kung hindi sila makakatanggap ng nakabubuhay na sahod. Hindi natin pwedeng gipitin ang mga manggagawa. Sila ang nagpapagalaw ng ating mga industriya. Without them, our industries will shut down, and our economy will plummet. So they really deserve to make a living wage,” the Senate president said.

(They will really opt to work in other countries if they do not get a decent wage. We cannot shortchange our workers. Without them, our industries will shut down, and our economy will plummet. So they really deserve to make a living wage.)

Meanwhile, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, chairman of the Senate labor panel, said that the interests of the workers and the employers should be balanced to ensure job preservation especially now that the country’s economy is still “struggling” to return to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

“More than the issue of wage increase is the matter of job security which most of our workers have yet to attain. So there is a need to strike a balance, the needs of the workers with the capacity of the employers to ensure job preservation and job creation,” said Estrada in an online interview. 

Estrada said he will conduct a hearing upon resumption of sessions in May. The Senate will adjourn sessions from March 24 to May 7.

The senator added that he will invite members from workers and employer groups to determine if there is a need for a legislative wage hike.  —VAL, GMA Integrated News