Jinggoy seeks P100 wage hike for private sector minimum earners

(MALAYA) SEN. Jinggoy Estrada yesterday sponsored a proposed measure seeking to grant a legislated wage increase of P100 a day for an estimated 4.2 million employees and workers in the private sector receiving the minimum daily salary.

From the original proposal of a P150 daily wage hike, Estrada, who chairs the Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development, recommended a P100 increase since almost all regional wage boards have heeded the workers’ call by ordering a P30 to P90 increase last year.

He said the Senate version of the salary hike is a “decent level and timely” to at least offset the rising prices of goods and services.

Several senators were made co-sponsors of the proposed measure.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, principal author of the measure, said the legislated wage increase is “first time in a long time that we’ve taken this measure this far.”

“This is great for our workers and our people,” he added.

The highest minimum pay for non-agricultural workers is P610 per day in Metro Manila but its real value, based on the inflation-adjusted rates using the consumer price index, has fallen to P514.50 as of July 2023, and was further reduced to P504 in October last year.

Estrada said “this scenario” is replicated nationwide.

Estrada said the minimum wage nationwide ranges from P306 to P610

While rate inflation rate went down to 2.8 percent at the start of the year, Estrada said this does not mean the prices of goods and services also went down.

“In fact, rice inflation was recorded at 22.6 percent, the highest since March 2009, and the processing of goods continue to increase amid the rise in the cost of electricity and gasoline,” he said.

“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 the 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,” Estrada said in his sponsorship of Senate Bill No. 2534.

The proposed measure is a consolidation of the bills filed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President pro tempore Loren Legarda, and Senators Nancy Binay, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Christopher Go.

Estrada said that under the measure, all employees in the private sector nationwide, whether in agricultural or non-agricultural, are entitled to a P100 daily wage increase.

He said the last legislated wage hike was implemented in 1989 with the enactment of RA 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act.

“Mr. President, even with this wage hike bill, the difference between the minimum wage and the cost of living – or the family wage living – is glaring. But this is the most that we can propose, balancing the welfare of workers and businesses,” he said.

Once passed into law, Estrada said “this statutory increase” will result in increased purchasing power and “would stimulate economic activity” which will be a factor in national growth.

“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,” he added.