Labor groups revive bid for P125 pay hike


LABOR activists press for a legislated P125 wage increase in the strawberry fields of Benguet, where a House subcommittee held a hearing on salaries. VINCENT CABREZA/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—Labor leaders from Luzon on Friday tried to convince the House subcommittee on labor standards to endorse a measure that would increase daily wages by P125 during the last of a series of congressional hearings held near the town’s strawberry fields.

A small group of activists belonging to the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) had camped near the fields to express their support for the wage bill.

The public hearing was conducted by Northern Samar

Rep. Emil Ong, chair of the House committee on labor and employment, who was criticized for delaying approval of the bill when he went to the United States to watch the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight last month.

Ong began the hearing by admonishing his critics. “I flew here from Samar because I didn’t want to be attacked anymore for delaying this bill when I went to the US to watch the Pacquiao-Marquez match,” he said.

The last legislated wage law was Republic Act No. 6727, which set a P25 wage increase across the board in 1988.

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research said it was time to review the law, which allows tripartite wage boards to set different wage ceilings in the provinces.

Ong asked the subcommittee members to vote on the bill after concluding that no one objected to the measure at the hearing attended by heads of unions and labor groups from Northern, Central and Southern Luzon.

The members included the two sponsors of the measure—Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino—and Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan, vice chair of the House labor committee.

Gregorio San Mateo, head of the transport group Piston, urged the subcommittee to endorse House Bill No. 375, saying: “This is the golden opportunity. If the 15th Congress passes this bill, all of the country’s workers will remember you forever.”

Most of the groups that presented their case dwelt on President Aquino’s declaration that the country’s economy has improved, citing a 7.1 growth during the third quarter of 2012.

KMU officials said the growth suggests that businesses could afford a pay increase. They added that profits have barely trickled down from the investors and shareholders to the workers of many companies. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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  • verconti

    since many companies are not paying income taxes truthfully(evading large sum of income taxes) and the BIR can not check all the records of the company specially SME, it wud be better if the tax code will be amended… Corporations should be taxed only 10% of their income, as well as any form of business, regardless of its type. The cut in their income tax should be shifted to employees salaries, wages, labor etc. It would be easy even if it would be increased 300% percent as long as their income taxes will also be lessen. The government will not  be in losing end in this kind of scheme for salaries of the employees,labor, wages will eventually be spent for necessities and be taxed through VAT, and people spending will foster the economy plus workers, with increased salaries can easily save and put up their own business if they want to.

  • dd

    Everyone needs the pay hike to make up for the increase in tobacco and liquor prices
    due to the sin tax.

  • Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

    nagtataka ako bakit exactly 125 parati every year, kahit mag wage hike, kahit magbago inflation. ano un? tamad lang magpalit ng karatula or di nila alam basis ng figure nila…ex. dapat pag may 10 wage hike..bakit di 115 na lang? sayang daw pambayad ng bagong karatula and protest sign?

    • Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

      anyone care to shed light on this? why does the figure never fluctuate? neither increase nor decrease?

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