Progressive lawmakers slam P25 wage hike for NCR workers

Published November 5, 2018, 5:39 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Progressive lawmakers slammed on Monday the “crumb and insulting” P25 wage increase for workers in the National Capital Region (NCR).


ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, and Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao said the wage hike approved by the NCR Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board is not enough following the galloping prices of goods and services.

“This measly wage hike for one region will not be enough to compensate price hikes from TRAIN as workers all over the nation endure the price hikes of basic goods due to TRAIN 1. They are demanding for a P750 national minimum wage not loose change of P25,” Tinio said in a statement.

“The P512 minimum wage in the National Capital Region can barely cope with the increasing prices of basic goods, we can only imagine how workers from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao fit their daily wages receiving only P262 with the nationwide effect of TRAIN 1 making the call for a national minimum wage just and timely,” he said.

Castro said if it truly cares for the workers, the government should prioritize the passage of HB 7877 which establishes a national minimum wage and imposing stiffer penalties for violations.

“Inflation hikes due to the TRAIN law has a nationwide effect, it is only just that government impose a national minimum wage of P750. Among the regions with the highest recorded inflation rates in September were Bicol region with 10.1 percent and ARMM with 9 percent. These are also the regions with low minimum wage. It is about time that the government impose a national minimum wage for our workers,” she said.

Tinio said a decent and sufficient wage hike is possible and will not be inflationary if only companies are willing to take a small cut in their profits.

“Increasing the minimum wage will help workers live decent lives, this should be the government’s priority,” he said.

He laments that the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) have been using excuses and threats of mass layoff and further price increases which are issued by huge corporations in their attempt to block wage increases for its workers.

Casilao also slammed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for approving a measly wage hike as recommended by the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP).

“Considering that a big fraction of the wage increase is P10 cost of living allowance (Cola), it would appear that the actual wage increase is only P15. What P15 can buy is a single purchase of instant noodles. ECOP and DOLE are heartless”, he said.

He accused ECOP of influencing the DOLE’s approval of crumb wage increase.

“ECOP and DOLE are treating Filipino working class like serfs. Kulang na lang hindi na magbigay ng taas-sahod sa mga kaawa-awang obrero natin na siyang lumilikha ng yaman lalo na sa mga malalaking kumpanya sa bansa. Nakakagalit at nakakainsulto ito” Casilao said.

He said what workers need is a significant minimum wage with a nationwide implementation.

“Workers should reject this utter manipulative and insulting offer by big employers. Inflation is wreaking havoc on workers in a nationwide scale and its worst picture can be seen in regions with the lowest minimum wage given to workers. It is only just that the government should go back to implementing a national minimum wage. Workers should reject the alms offered by ECOP,” Casilao said.

The seven-man Makabayan bloc had filed House Bill 7787 or the P750 National Minimum Wage. The bill also seeks the dissolution of the Regional Wage Boards which workers widely consider as an instrument in dividing the workers and depressing their wages.