Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday, May 1, threw his support behind a number of bills at the Upper Chamber seeking to raise the minimum wage in the country.
Pimentel said the increase is long overdue.
“There is no way a family of five can live a decent life with the current minimum wage of P570 in Metro Manila,” he said.
The Senate chief fiscalizer advised the government to go beyond holding job fairs and distributing ayuda (assistance) during Labor Day.
“I think we need to be more imaginative now in responding to the needs of our labor sector given the new reality that life is very difficult nowadays,” Pimentel said in a TV interview.
“Job fairs and ayuda are regular programs of the government,” he pointed out.
“The government should express support for legislated wage hikes,” he added.
“Sa tingin ko, kailangan na (I think it is about rime). It is about time to review the amounts. The legislated minimum wage can live side-by-side with our decentralized wage system,” Pimentel stressed.
The country has wage boards across all regions that set the minimum wage in every region.
However, Pimentel noted the need to consider the economic and business implications of the legislated wage increase.
“We have to balance the interest of the MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), which could not afford the mandatory wage hike, with the needs of our workers,” he said.
There are about 21 pending measures in the Senate calling for wage increase.
“If passed, this move will improve the lives of millions of workers who are struggling to make ends meet on their current wages,” Pimentel said in a statement.
“We must ensure that Filipinos are paid a fair wage hike for their work so they can put food on the table and provide a better future for their families,” according to Pimentel in a separate statement.
“Life is also hard outside Metro Manila. We need to do something to improve the standard of living and the quality of life of our countrymen,” he added.