Congress may push for a nationwide wage hike anew, says Palace

By Azer Parrocha

May 28, 2018, 7:56 pm

MANILA -- Amid labor groups’ call for a PHP750 daily minimum wage nationwide, Malacañang on Monday said that it was “legally impossible” to raise the wages because of legal restraints.

“I said that’s legally impossible because we cannot impose a national minimum wage now because the Regional Wage Boards were created by law,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act was enacted into law in 1989 in order to rationalize the fixing of wages and the improvement of productivity throughout the country.

It created the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards, developed plans, programs and projects relative to wages, incomes and productivity improvement for their respective regions.

“Congress has to repeal that law and authorize a national wage hike anew. So kinakailangan po ng batas galing sa Kongreso (So there is a need for a law coming from the Congress),” he added.

Roque made this remark after lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives on early Monday filed a bill seeking to set a national minimum wage of PHP750 daily.

This measure is expected to help Filipino workers cope with the price shocks caused by the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law and other factors.

The TRAIN law imposes higher excise taxes on sweetened beverages, oil, vehicles and cigarettes to compensate for reduced personal income tax rates.

The seven-member bloc filed House Bill 7787, or the National Minimum Wage Law of 2018.

Labor groups and lawmakers have blamed the TRAIN law for causing increases in the prices of commodities and services and even called on the government to suspend its implementation.

The Department of Finance (DOF), for its part, warned that suspending the implementation of TRAIN law would do more harm than good in the economy, saying it will affect infrastructure and social programs. (PNA)