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Makabayan calls on House to act on wage hike bills

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc on Friday called on the House leadership to take action on pending bills increasing the minimum wage nationwide.

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro of ACT Teachers party-list, House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela and Kabataan party-list Representative Raoul Manuel issued the plea as the House labor panel has yet to schedule deliberations on the said pending bills.

Brosas said that aside from Makabayan bloc’s bill seeking to impose a P750 national minimum wage, there are also bills filed by Representatives Jolo Revilla of Cavite and Democrito Mendoza of Trade Union Congress of the Philippines seeking to increase the minimum wage nationwide by P150.

Under the current law, the minimum wage in each region varies and is highest in the National Capital Region, the center of country’s economic activity.

“Any form of increase, we are supportive of that. That is why we are calling on the House leadership to immediately discuss this wage increase bills because these are yet to be included in the schedule of the House labor committee. We are yet to talk about this, whether it is P150 or P750,” Brosas said in a press conference.

“This P150 can already bridge the gap between the minimum wage and iyong nakakabuhay na sahod (a living wage). It is about time, given that the measure is backed by no less than Senate President Miguel Zubiri,” Brosas added.

She was referring to the Senate labor panel’s approval in principle of the bill increasing the minimum wage nationwide by P150.

Castro said such P150 increase is still better than nothing.

“That P150 just covers the eroded value of the peso due to inflation and since the last hike in 1989. Workers in Southern Tagalog even computed as much as P220 [worth of eroded peso],” Castro said.

Manuel said the House should keep up with the Senate’s pace on proposed bills increasing wages.

“The House should be able to keep in step with the Senate where these bills are taking ground. Each passing day that there is no wage hike is a burden to the workers who are enduring low wages,”  Manuel added.—LDF, GMA Integrated News