Senatorial candidate Jejomar Binay on Wednesday urged the government to immediately resolve the petitions of labor organizations to increase the country’s minimum wage.
Binay also proposed further increasing income tax exemptions to benefit more working Filipinos, not just minimum wage earners.
Binay said middle class and working Filipinos have been affected by the increase in prices of basic commodities and fuel triggered by the prolonged conflict in Ukraine.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines had filed a petition seeking to raise private workers’ minimum wage in Metro Manila to P1,007.
TUCP asked the Department of Labor and Employment’s Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board for a P470 wage hike from the present P500 to P537 per day.
The group also filed petition before the Northern Mindanao – Regional Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) for a P413.00 increase in the daily minimum wage for workers in Region 10.
The current minimum wage in the region is P365 per day. Another labor organization Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino is also pushing for a P750 minimum wage across the country.
Binay said the workers are still struggling to recover from the economic dislocation caused by pandemic and the prolonged lockdown.
He said raising income tax exemptions will benefit the below-middle class and the middle class, which includes office clerks, government employees, teachers, policemen and call center agents.
“Tax savings will help more Filipinos cope with the economic uncertainties caused by the Ukraine conflict and the pandemic,” he said.
It will also encourage consumer spending which is needed to lift the economy, he added.
The former vice president, who is running for senator in the May 9 elections under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), also said government should sustain its cash and food aid for the poorest of the poor.