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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Senate leader stands by P150 wage hike wish

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Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Sunday stood his ground to push for a P150 legislated wage hike across the country.

“I know many businessmen will be mad at me, but share-share lang. They also need to share their blessings with workers,” Zubiri said. “We need to focus on this and that’s my promise.”

He guaranteed the Senate will make a stand on this issue.

“It remains unwavering in its commitment to increase the wages for all daily wage workers nationwide through a legislated wage hike,” the Senate leader said.

Zubiri also acknowledged that he said he was amenable to a P100 wage hike for workers in the National Capital Region–which got a P40 daily increase starting Sunday–in response to a query from a television presenter last week.

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But he stressed that his original stance was a uniform P150 salary increase for laborers throughout the country.

He said he is confident that with the release of the most recent Pulse Asia nationwide survey a few days ago where there is an overwhelming clamor for wage increases, the Senate will listen to the Filipino people and fulfill its mandate of advancing their welfare.

The latest Pulse Asia survey conducted from June 19 to 23 shows that the most urgent national concern overall, increasing the pay of workers, ranked second among the top issues at 44 percent after controlling inflation, which stood at 63 percent.

Pulse Asia also surveyed Filipinos on how much they spend on regular monthly household expenses such as housing, food, electricity, water, communications, transportation, and the like. Some 38 percent of the respondents answered P15,001 or more, while 17 percent answered P14,001 to P15,000 and only 13 percent said they spent lower than P8,000.

Also in the same survey, respondents were asked whether or not theyare in favor of the proposal to increase by P150 the daily minimum wage of workers in the private sector.

A whopping 97 percent said they agree with the proposal.

This question, Zubiri said, was actually a “rider” that his office pushed for inclusion in the Pulse Asia survey questions.

He said the results were “astounding,” as almost 100 percent agreed with the proposal.

According to Zubiri, he will use the recent Pulse Asia survey as an “Exhibit A” to convince his colleagues to support the measure when the Senate resumes deliberation on the legislated wage hike.

The idea, he said, is to have a uniform P150 minimum wage increase nationwide, and they are eyeing several proposals on how to accomplish this.

“We can make it graduated. For example, in the NCR, we will add P100.

In Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, let’s make them P150 so it will be equal for everybody. Or let’s make it P110 in Metro Manila and P150 for all,” Zubiri said.

The regional wage board approved last June a P40 increase in theminimum daily wage for private sector workers in Metro Manila. The order takes effect today, July 15. The wage order is expected to directly benefit 1.1 million minimum wage earners in NCR but is widely seen as being inadequate.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment, Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles, said the government should aggressively move to bring down the cost of basic goods as a complement to a wage hike.

“Our efforts to improve workers’ quality of life should not stop with a wage hike. We also need to aggressively move to lessen the cost of commodities to increase workers’ purchasing power,” Nograles said.

With the latest wage adjustment, the daily minimum wage rate in Metro Manila would be raised to P610 from P570.

There are also 10 other wage hike petitions that are pending with various wage boards, the Department of Labor and Employment announced in May.

Nograles hailed the wage increase, though he admitted that workers might consider it a pittance considering the soaring prices of goods.

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