Senate OKs P100 daily minimum wage hike on final reading

(MANILA BULLETIN) The Senate on Monday, February 19 approved on third and final reading the bill mandating a P100-daily pay increase for daily minimum wage earners estimated to be around 4.2 million nationwide.

Twenty (20) senators voted in favor of the approval of Senate Bill No. 2534 or the proposed P100 Daily Minimum Wage Increase Act authored by Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva and Estrada.

“Let it be said that this august chamber is responsive to the needs of our kababayans, especially on the back of rising cost of living and soaring prices of basic commodities,” said Sen. Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.

“Thus, the Senate has proposed to hike the daily minimum wage rate by P100 for workers in the private sector,” said Estrada, sponsor of the bill.

Villanueva said senators acknowledge that workers are having a hard time coping up with the high cost of basic goods and commodities making it difficult for them to address their everyday needs. 

“Over the years, regional minimum wages have not kept up with rising prices, and the real value of the minimum wage has fallen 28 percent on average across all regions nationwide,” Villanueva pointed out.

“In fact, based on the 2023 poverty threshold, all the regional minimum wage rates are lower than the regional poverty thresholds,” he added. 

While the P100 minimum wage increase is still far from the ideal “living wage,” Sen. Risa Hontiveros said she welcomes this development.

“Ito ay malaking tulong sa pang araw-araw na pakikibaka nila para mabuhay sa halagang minimum wage, pero malayo layo pa po ito sa pinapangarap nating ‘living wage’ na siyang magbibigay daan para sa isang disenteng pamumuhay ng mga manggagawa at kanilang pamilya (This is a great help in their daily struggle to survive on the minimum wage, but it is still far from the ‘living wage’ we dream of which will pave the way for a decent lifestyle for workers and their families),” Hontiveros said. 

“Ako ay umaasa parin na pagusapan at aralin natin paano makakapag sabatas ng isang ‘living wage’,  pagsasaayos ng ating wage-setting mechanisms at ang pagpapalakas ng bargaining power ng ating mga mangagawa (I am still hoping that we can discuss and learn how to establish a ‘living wage’, adjust our wage-setting mechanisms and strengthen the bargaining power of our workers),” she added.

“It’s been a long-time coming,” Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. said of the bill. 

“The fight does not end here. It is only the beginning…Let us endeavor to work with our counterparts in the House so that they too, would be convinced of the value of this proposal and the significance this will make in the lives of the labor sector,” Revilla pointed out. 

Under this measure, all minimum wage earners in the private sector—whether agricultural or non-agricultural—are entitled to the increase. 

The last legislated wage hike that was implemented in the country was during the enactment of Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act in 1989.

RA No. 6727 effectively declared that wages would be set on a regional basis by the regional wage boards.