Senate minority bloc standing up for wage hike on Labor Day
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III and fellow minority bloc member Sen.Risa Hontiveros on Monday, Labor Day, joined calls for an increase in the minimum wage in the country.
Pimentel said that the passage of a proposed measure seeking to raise the minimum wage across all regions is long overdue.
“The government should express support for legislated wage hikes,” he said over CNN Philippines’ The Source.
“Sa tingin ko, kailangan na (I believe it’s needed now). It is about time to review the amounts. The legislated minimum wage can live side-by-side with our decentralized wage system.”
Pimentel noted, however, that passing a legislated wage hike should factor in the implications of such a move to businesses and the economy.
“We have to balance the interest of the micro, small and medium enterprises, which could not afford the mandatory wage hike with the needs of our workers,” he said.
Hontiveros pointed out that while the unemployment rate decreased this year, the working conditions of the labor force are not necessarily better, noting that some are forced to pursue alternative sources of income to make ends meet.
“Hindi sapat ang sweldo, lalo na ng minimum wage earners, upang tugunan ang pangunahing pangangailangan ng pamilya,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(The pay is not enough, especially for minimum wage earners to be able to provide the basic needs of their families.)
Hontiveros urged the Marcos administration and her fellow policy makers to immediately hear the grievances of workers and trade unions by providing means for them to push for their rights, welfare, and protection in and out of the country.
“I will continue to support the call on wage increase, full recognition of workers’ rights to self organizations in the public and private sector, collective bargain for better working conditions, safety, welfare and security of tenure,” Hontiveros said.
She also underscored the need to uphold the rights and welfare of workers in the informal sector by addressing their lack of employment contracts, benefits, and other social safeguards.
The Senate labor panel is scheduled to begin on May 10 deliberations on around 21 proposed laws that raise workers’ pay and benefits. (Aliah Gumasing, INQUIRER.net trainee)