P25 minimum wage hike to recoup lost spending power

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

November 6, 2018, 3:05 pm

MANILA – A party-list lawmaker on Monday said the new PHP25-wage hike for workers in Metro Manila would reduce inflationary pressures as it could help recover their purchasing power.

KABAYAN Rep. Ron Salo made the statement following reports that the country’s headline inflation rate was steady at 6.7 percent, but still the highest recorded in nearly a decade.

"If a minimum daily wage earner works 20 days in a month, the PHP25 increase means about PHP500 for the month. Critics would say that it is too little. Yet, PHP500 is still PHP500 and it helps our workers recover some of the purchasing power consumers lost when inflation rose," Salo said.

He said the wage hike is among the efforts of the government to ease inflation apart from improving rice supply and providing greater access for the poor to discounted basic goods.

The lawmaker, however, noted that the 6.7-percent October inflation should prompt the wage boards to seriously consider another wage hike, especially in the regions.

He filed House of Representatives Bill No. 7527 seeking to set a nationwide daily wage of PHP600. The bill, known as the proposed "Minimum Wage Act", is aimed at addressing the prevailing inequality and disparity in income levels of the different regions in the country.

Salo said the PHP600 minimum wage proposal is realistic because it is much closer to the current PHP537 daily wage in the National Capital Region.

“PHP600 is a proposal, not just to our colleagues here in Congress, but also to the wage boards. We also invite the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) and its wage boards to recommend measures they deem are needed to update and upgrade the powers of the regional wage boards,” he said.

According to the DOLE, three regional wage boards, including the Regional Tripartite Productivity and Wages Board - National Capital Region (RTPWB-NCR), issued new wage orders ranging from PHP10 to PHP25 across different sectors in the regions.

Aside from Metro Manila, RTPWBs 2 (Cagayan Valley) and 4-B (Mimaropa) also issued new wage orders raising the daily minimum wage from PHP10 to PH20.

In Cagayan Valley, the board approved a PHP10 per basic wage increase and PHP10 per day cost of living allowance (COLA) last October 22. Upon the effectivity of wage order RTPWB 02-19, the new daily minimum wage rates will range from PHP320 to PHP360, across different sectors.

For workers in Mimaropa, a PHP12 to PHP20 per day basic wage increase was approved by the board, bringing the new daily minimum wage to PHP283 to PHP320 across different sectors upon effectivity of wage order RB-Mimaropa-09.

The wage adjustments will be effective 15 days from their publication in a newspaper of general circulation. (PNA)