Jinggoy: Legislated wage hike needed

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said on Saturday, July 1 that he may pursue a legislated wage increase as he sees the P40 daily wage hike authorized by the National Capital Region (NCR) regional wage board as simply not enough.

Although he thanked the NCR regional wage board for this development, still Estrada thinks the P40 daily wage increase in Metro Manila is ‘’kulang na kulang’’ (very lacking). He also noted that this hasn’t addressed petitions for wage increases in other regions in the country.

‘’This will not prevent me from crafting a legislated wage hike kahit nagtaas na ng wage yung Metro Manila (even if there was a wage increase for Metro Manila, I will craft a legislate wage increase),’’ he pointed out.

’Kung makikita naman natin na di naman talaga sapat ang sahod ng isang manggagawa eh mapipilitan tayo na maglegislate (If we see that the wage increase is not really enough, we may legislate a wage increase),’’ he added.

As chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, Estrada said he has already instructed his staff to call for a technical working group (TWG) to study the data and submit to him the results.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri had proposed a legislated daily wage increase of P150 a day for non-agriculture workers. The current daily minimum wage in the NCR is P570, with the P40 hike expected to take effect in two weeks.

Asked during a DWIZ radio interview whether or not he thinks the proposed P150 daily wage increase was a ‘’suntok sa buwan’’ (a shot at the moon, i.e. unrealistic), Estrada said many sectors are now complaining that that would be difficult to attain.

’We have to strike a balance, kapag naaprubahan baka maraming business est na magsara… mas mabigat naman yun (when that proposed increase is approved, many businesses will close shop.. which is more disastrous),’’ he pointed out.

When Congress resumes regular session in late July, Estrada said he would have ‘’to listen to all stakeholders, including employers and labor sector”.

The proposed daily wage increase would be debated on the Senate floor ‘’and I will have to convince my colleagues and explain it to them,’’ he said.

Zubiri would also give his comparative data from neighboring Southeast Asian nations, he added.

Estrada emphasized that there is a need to talk to employers, particularly the small, micro, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which were hard-hit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He, however, noted that MSMEs have slowly recovered from the negative effects of the pandemic.

Estrada also said that employers agree to an increase in the daily wage because of increases in basic commodities and gasoline products.

Asked if he could commit to a legislated wage increase as Christmas gift, Estrada replied: ‘’Ayoko magsalita ng tapos, ayoko mangako gusto ko sigurado kapag mangangako ako gusto siguradong sigurado na (I don’t make promises that I can’t keep, I make promises that I am sure I would keep),’’ he added.