House Committee on Labor and Employment chairman Enrico “Eric” Pineda on Monday said he is in support of the proposal to increase minimum wage, citing soaring inflation during the pandemic.
Pineda, who represents 1-Pacman Partlist, said it is “high time” to do this for the entire country, not just Metro Manila.
“The cost of goods is not different in all places across the country, which was a primary reason for making wages higher in larger cities in Metro Manila. That reason is barely evident now, since malls have been popping up in provinces, offering the same goods for the same prices, and with the rising gasoline prices, which is even more expensive outside Metro Manila,” Pineda explained, noting how as a result, prices of other goods are also shooting up.
“It’s high time we raise the minimum wage, considering the rising costs of goods and the effects of the pandemic,” he added.
Since the pandemic, Filipinos have also had to spend on masks, vitamins, disinfecting materials, and COVID testing, Pineda noted.
“How do we expect our workers to keep up without any increase in their salaries?,” he said.
The House Committee on Labor and Employment will meet on March 17 to discuss, among others, House Bills 246, 276, 541, 668, 2878, 6668, and 6572, which all seek to amend the Labor Code of the Philippines by institutionalizing a national minimum wage for private sector workers.
These measures were earlier discussed in February 2020, prior to the pandemic, but no agreement was reached then due to several issues that popped up.
Deliberations will once again be opened for all stakeholders to raise their concerns.
“Our aim always is to strike a balance between labor and management, while also putting importance on the welfare of workers,” he said.
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