(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — A bill proposing a P100-daily minimum wage increase for private sector workers has reached the Senate floor.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, chairperson of the upper chamber’s panel on labor, employment, and human resources development, stood to sponsor Senate Bill No. 2534 under Committee Report No. 190 during Wednesday’s plenary session.
In his sponsorship speech, Estrada said pursuant to the measure, all employees in the private sector in the entire country, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, are entitled to a P100-daily minimum wage increase.
This would guarantee an increased daily pay for around 4.2 million minimum wage earners.
“After consideration of the existing socio-economic conditions and positions of various sectors, it is incumbent upon us to propose a daily pay hike to help alleviate the burden of Filipinos in the face of soaring prices of basic commodities and rising cost of living. We cannot turn a blind eye on the injustice to and the economic conditions of our workers, who are considered the lifeblood of the economy,” said Estrada.
He, however, admitted that the current minimum wage is still far from meeting the basic needs of workers’ families.
“It was estimated that a family of five needs at least P8,379 per month to meet just their basic food requirements. That translates to about P280 for food expenses alone, in 2021—but in reality, this amount seems not enough considering the current prices of basic commodities,” he emphasized.
Even with this wage hike bill, the difference between the minimum wage and the cost of living is still glaring, said Estrada.
“But this is the most that we can propose, balancing the welfare of workers and businesses,” he added.
The senator then pointed out that if passed into law, the measure would help stimulate economic activity and promote national growth.
‘We hear you’
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri also stood up and co-sponsored the measure. In his co-sponsorship speech, the Senate President said the chamber hears the call of the people.
“Dito mismo sa Senado, nagkaroon na po ng mga rally sa labas na ang sigaw, “No to Cha-Cha, Yes to Wage Increase.” Gusto ko lang pong sabihin sa kanila, naririnig po natin ang sigaw ng bayan. Naririnig po kayo ng Senado,” said Zubiri.
(Right here in the Senate, there have been rallies outside with people pleading, “No to Cha-Cha, Yes to Wage Increase.” I just want to tell them, we hear the cry of the people. The Senate hears you.)
The P100-daily wage increase is a little lower than the earlier proposed P150-daily hike, but Zubiri noted that if the latter would be pushed at this time, it might not have a chance and only be halted.
“Kung itulak pa rin kasi natin ang P150 wage increase on top of the regional wage increases, ay aalma na talaga ang business sector, at baka mawalan na ng pag-asang maipasa itong ating panukala sa ating Kongreso,” he explained.
(If we push the P150 wage increase on top of the regional wage increases, the business sector might complain, and we might lose the chance that this legislation may be passed in Congress.)
He, however, assured that they are now appealing to business owners to make wages more competitive in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation Region.
Apart from Zubiri, Senators Joel Villanueva, Loren Legarda, Bong Go, Ronald dela Rosa, Nancy Binay, Ramon Revilla, Robin Padilla, Risa Hontiveros, and Pia Cayetano likewise co-sponsored the measure.