“The P25 pay hike is a big insult. It was a slap on the face of the Filipino workers.”
This was the reaction of AKBAYAN! Rep. Mario Joyo Aguja to the P25 increase in the daily minimum wage of private workers as approved by the National Wages and Productivity Commission. He said that the amount is insufficient to meet the daily necessities of the average Filipino family.
“Since 2001, rising inflation has slowly been eating away the buying power of the minimum wage. In fact, during the last two years, we have been witness to spiraling costs of goods and services. Utility rates such as water and electricity are also rising. Are these not considered by the regional wage boards,” said Rep. Aguja.
The former educator turned legislator challenged the members of the regional wage board of the National Capital Region to explain to the Filipino workers how they were able to come up with the P25 pay hike.
“Have they been living under a rock these past few years? Where did those numbers come from? Unless they can convince us that these numbers are justified, then the members of the wage board should voluntarily submit their resignation so we can start abolishing all the regional wage boards,” said Rep. Aguja.
The AKBAYAN solon said that his party has already filed House Bill. No. 1487 seeking to amend Presidential Decree 442 and will abolish the regional wage boards. He said that serious questions have been raised regarding the effectiveness of these wage boards in formulating and prescribing fair and equitable wage rates at the regional level.
“Their ability and that of the National Wage and Productivity Commission to quickly respond to changes in the prices of oil, transport and basic commodities have been put into question.”
He also debunked the claim of some quarters that a higher wage increase will have adverse effects on the economy.
“The most common arguments against raising the minimum wage were that doing so would hurt the economy and harm the employment prospects of low-wage workers. But mounting economic evidence refutes those claims. If people have enough spending money, it will be a big boost to the economy. I believe that the majority of the Filipino people will agree to me that unchecked corruption is more disastrous to the economy than providing our people with decent living wage,” said Aguja.
He said that AKBAYAN is also pushing for a P3500 monthly wage increase for government workers. “Instead of spending P10 billion for the unconstitutional and extremely unpopular initiative such as the national ID system, it would be wise for this administration to set aside that money for the wage hike of government employees.”