Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen:
As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, it is my honor to present today to this august Chamber Senate Bill No. 2534 under Committee Report No. 190 entitled “An Act Providing for a 100 Pesos Daily Minimum Wage Increase for Employees and Workers in the Private Sector.”
This proposal is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2002 filed by Senate President Zubiri, with Senators Legarda, Binay, and Go as co-authors, and SB No. 2018 by Senator Revilla.
Consistent with the constitutional precepts to alleviate the living conditions of ordinary Filipinos through policies that provide for a rising standard of living and improved quality of life, particularly of the working class by guaranteeing their right to a decent pay, it is the aim of this Committee—and the collective conscience of the Senate—to update the minimum wage by One Hundred Pesos (P100) for workers in the private sector.
Under this measure, all employees in the private sector in the entire country, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, are entitled to a one hundred-peso minimum wage increase. This would guarantee an increased daily pay for around 4.2 million minimum wage earners.
Let me just give some retrospect: The last legislated wage hike that was implemented in the country dates back to 1989 with the enactment of Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act, which effectively declared that wages would be set on a regional basis by the regional wage boards.
To answer workers’ clamor, almost all regional wage boards have issued wage orders last year to increase the minimum daily wage rates in their respective regions, ranging from Thirty Pesos (P30) to Eighty Nine Pesos (P89).
And we are not stopping there. The Senate’s effort to legislate an increase in minimum wages augments the wage increases already issued by the regional wage boards. Thus, 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.
Ginoong Pangulo, tapatin na po natin: Ang kasalukuyang minimum wage sa iba’t ibang rehiyon na nasa Three Hundred Six Pesos (P306) hanggang Six Hundred Ten Pesos (P610) ay hindi sapat upang bumuhay ng kahit isang maliit na pamilya sa araw-araw.
Kompyutin po natin: Halimbawa, P7,344 ang buwanang sahod na matatanggap ng manggagawa sa isang retail establishment na tumatanggap ng P306 per day. Ikaltas mo pa ang SSS, Pag-Ibig, at PhilHealth. Maituturing na siyang mahirap, sapagkat ang national poverty threshold ay P9,686.
Samantala, ang pinakamataas na sahod na P610 mula sa NCR ay makatatanggap naman ng P14,640 kada buwan—mas mataas lamang nang kaunti sa “near poor” threshold na P12,400.
While minimum wage in Metro Manila for the non-agricultural sector consistently recorded the highest basic pay in the country at Six Hundred Ten Pesos (P610) per day, however, the actual daily pay is eroded by inflation. The real value of the minimum wage—which reflects the inflation-adjusted rates using the consumer price index—has fallen to Five Hundred Fourteen Pesos and Fifty Centavos (P514.50) in the capital as of July 2023 and further decreased to Five Hundred Four Pesos (P504) for October 2023. And this scenario is replicated across all regions.
Talagang nakakaawa ang ating mga manggagawa: Hindi pa rin talaga aabot sa pangangailangan para mabuhay at matugunan ang pangangailangan ng mga manggagawa na may limang miyembro ng pamilya. Sa kasalukuyang antas ng minimum wage, kulang ang budget para i-treat man lang sa Jollibee o ibang restaurant ang kanilang pamilya maski isang beses dahil ubos na sa pangunahing pangangailangan pa lamang.
Bagamat ang inflation ay bumabagal—nasa 2.8% nitong January 2024—hindi ibig sabihin nito ay bumababa na rin ang presyo ng mga bilihin. Sa katunayan, ang rice inflation ay pumalo sa 22.6%, ang pinakamataas na antas mula March 2009, at patuloy pa ang pagtaas ng ibang mga bilihin sa kabila ng patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng kuryente at gasolina.
While we have seen inflation at a downward trend, economists expect that inflation headache from rising food prices will likely persist until 2025.
The status quo simply cannot achieve this. But with this legislative push, this means that a typical family of five needs to work two full-time minimum wage jobs to earn a living wage.
The current minimum wage is even further away from meeting the basic needs of workers’ families. It was estimated that a family of five needs at least Eight Thousand Three Hundred Seventy Nine Pesos (P8,379) per month to meet just their basic food requirements. That translates to about Two Hundred Eighty Pesos (P280) for food expenses alone, in 2021—but in reality, this amount seems not enough considering the current prices of basic commodities. Sa bigas pa lang, lagpas singkwenta pesos (P50) na ang isang kilo—hindi pa magandang klase ‘yan—dagdagan mo pa ng lulutuing karne o gulay o pambili ng lutong ulam sa karinderya.
Mr. President, even with this wage hike bill, the difference between the minimum wage and the cost of living—or the family living wage—is glaring. But this is the most that we can propose, balancing the welfare of workers and businesses.
Bagama’t kinikilala natin ang wage hikes na ipinatupad kamakailan ng regional wage boards, tila nabura na ito ng patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng pangunahing bilihin, kaya natin iminumungkahi ito.
Ang pagtaas ng sahod ng mga manggagawa sa mas disenteng lebel ay napapanahon at talagang kailangan para ipantay, kahit papaano, sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin. Pinakinggan po natin ang hinaing ng ating mga manggagawa na matagal nang humihiling ng umento; at ito na ang tugon ng inyong Senado sa mga panawagang iyon.
This statutory increase, if passed into law, would also result in increased purchasing power and would stimulate economic activity, thereby contributing to national growth.
This wage hike bill would also help attain our goal of reducing poverty incidence rate in the coming years to have a “prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor” by 2040. Under the Philippine Development Plan, the government is targeting to reduce the poverty incidence rate to 13.2% by 2025, and to 9% by 2028.
Recognizing the struggles of low-income households that are bearing the brunt of high prices, this initiative demonstrates the Senate’s belief that our workers who are creating value for the companies deserve a dignified wage and ultimately, respect.
Bilang pinuno ng Senate Committee on Labor, naniniwala po tayo na para sa mga ordinaryong manggagawa, makatutulong ang taas-sahod na ito pambili ng bigas at ulam, pamasahe, at pandagdag—maski sa maliit na halaga—sa pang araw-araw na gastusin.
We also hope that after this legislative initiative, our regional wage boards would work expeditiously and be more sympathetic, proactive, and responsive to the needs and plight of our workers.
Maraming salamat po.
 Asuncion, R. “Identifying the near poor in the Philippines,” Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), House of Representatives. https://cpbrd.congress.gov.ph/144-blog/poverty1/195-identifying-the-near-poor-in-the-philippines
 CPBRD, Nov. 2023. “Trends in Philippine Minimum Wage Rates.” https://cpbrd.congress.gov.ph/images/PDF%20Attachments/Facts%20in%20Figures/FF2023-51_Trends_in_the_Phil_Min_Wage_Rates.pdf
 Cigaral, I. “PH inflation slowed to 2.8% in January,” 6 Feb. 2024. Inquirer website. https://business.inquirer.net/444332/ph-inflation-slowed-to-2-8-in-january
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