The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said minimum wage earners fell further in deeper poverty as prices of goods and services increased due to the implementation of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion, specifically the excise tax on fuel and sweetened beverages and the increase in prices of government documents.
ALU-TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said the buying power of the peso fell by almost 30 percent, citing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the National Wages and Productivity Commission report that the real value or the buying power of the country’s average daily nominal minimum wage of P329.35 is now only P210 a day.
In Metro Manila, the buying power of P512 daily minimum pay—the highest across the country—fell to P357.29. On the other hand, the real value or purchasing power of the country’s lowest minimum pay of P265 a day in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is P152.12 a day.
As of March 1, the total purchasing power of workers for a month fell to P8,575.
However, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the published standard amount needed by a family of five to survive within poverty line in 2015 is P9,064.
“We noticed the erosion of wage’s purchasing power move quickly downwards by six percent in just a matter of two months from January to February upon the effectivity of TRAIN. This extraordinary devaluation of monthly salary is significant to the informal sector workers earning less than P12,000 a month and the minimum wage earners receiving less than the same amount,” Tanjusay said.
“We urge government’s immediate and quality response to save and prevent these workers, who help build our economy and who are producers of goods and services to make our economy competitive, from falling through the cracks,” he added.
With the inflation rate hitting 3.9 percent by the end of February, ALU-TUCP said it expects it to rise by the end of the month in the light of impending increases in the cost of electricity, rice, fish, sardines, vegetables, condiments and prices of gasoline.
ALU-TUCP is proposing an amelioration program called Labor Empowerment and Assistance Program to help minimum wage earners through a monthly subsidy of P500 worth of grocery items.