Senators want study on wage hike; Sotto ‘supportive’
MANILA, Philippines — While Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III is “supportive,” some of his colleagues would like a thorough study first of the proposed across-the-board daily wage hike for workers in the private sector.
“I can understand the timing because of May 1st but it’s also election period, therefore, it would be wise to address it after the elections. In principle, I am supportive,” Sotto said in a Viber message on Monday.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has already filed a petition before the National Capital Region (NCR) wage board, seeking a P710-increase in the daily wage.
If approved, the daily minimum pay would be raised from the current P537 to P1,247.
Senator Joel Villanueva, chair the Senate committee on labor, and Senator Panfilo Lacson said concerned agencies and the regional wage boards should study the proposed increase.
“There has been demand for an increase in wage. Consistent [with] this, I propose that we look at a living wage. We should examine this issue in our current social and economic context and work towards the achievement of it,” Villanueva said.
“I implore DOLE and NEDA to work together and propose to the legislature a study on the living wage and the necessary policy reforms to achieve this,” he added.
Dole is the Department of Labor and Employment while Neda is National and Economic Development.
Lacson said there should be a “thorough study” of the proposed wage hike, noting the many factors that need to be considered.
“Wage hikes are always associated with inflation as a consequence of higher prices of goods, especially in the manufacturing sector not to mention possible loss of jobs since the business may not be able to cope up,” he said.
The regional wage boards, he said, should be given enough flexibility as they are in a better position to decide on the matter.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, for his part, said he supports a “just living wage” for workers.
“The exact amount has to be computed,” he said. “But this concept must be the one advanced and not simply a minimum wage.”/ac
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