Labor groups cheer Senate’s approval of P100 wage hike bill

(SUNSTAR) A COALITION of labor groups has welcomed the Senate’s approval of a proposed law seeking to increase the daily minimum wage of workers in the private sector by P100. 

The Nagkaisa, a coalition of labor centers, federations and national unions, said the upper chamber’s move is a “good starting point” in reforming the mechanism governing the wage determination in the country.

It asked the House of Representative to legislate its own version for a higher wage increase for the private sector. A bill becomes a law in the Philippines when it is approved by both houses of Congress and the President. 

The Senate approved on third and final reading the bill on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.

With 20 affirmative votes, zero negative votes and no abstention, the Senate passed Senate Bill 2534, or An Act Providing for a 100 Pesos Daily Minimum Wage Increase for Employees and Workers in the Private Sector, which was authored by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and sponsored by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

Senators Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Cynthia Villar and Mark Villar were not present in the session hall during the voting.

The measure covers all minimum wage earners in the private sector in the entire country, whether agricultural or non-agricultural. Currently, there are 4.2 million minimum wage earners in the country.

In a statement, Estrada said the measure is responsive to the needs of the Filipinos, especially amid the rising cost of living and soaring prices of basic commodities.

He noted that the last legislated wage hike that was implemented in the country dates back to 1989 before the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 6727, or the Wage Rationalization Act.

Under RA 6727, wages would be set on a regional basis by the regional wage boards.

Estrada said that while he recognizes the concerns that the proposed law could adversely impact businesses and impede economic growth, “a flourishing economy relies on the vitality of its workforce, who are considered the lifeblood of enterprises.”