‘Domino effect’ of Metro Manila wage hike seen | Inquirer News

‘Domino effect’ of Metro Manila wage hike seen

‘Domino effect’ of Metro Manila wage hike seen

Metro Manila skyline at night (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JILSON SECKLER TIU)

MANILA, Philippines — The efforts by administration senators to pass a legislated salary hike and the order of the regional wage board to increase by P40 the daily pay of workers in Metro Manila would have a “domino effect” in the provinces, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said on Monday.

At a press briefing, Hontiveros said Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s push for the passage of a law mandating a nationwide P150 across-the-board salary increase for employees in the private sector bodes well for the labor sector.


She said Zubiri’s support would also give the proposed measure a better chance of hurdling Senate deliberations.


“At least there’s a chance of [passing the law] since we have a Senate president talking about it and championing it,” Hontiveros told the Kapihan sa Senado media forum.

“Despite the opposition of the government’s economic team, the regional wage board in [Metro Manila] was able to order a wage adjustment, which serves as a weather vane that may start a trend for other regional wage boards to follow,” she added.

The basic pay in the National Capital Region, she pointed out, has been traditionally used as a “benchmark” for the minimum wage in other regions.

“So this could trigger a domino effect or some kind of a virtuous cycle for other regional wage boards,” Hontiveros said.

Legislated wage pushed

Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., who previously filed similar measures, also expressed his support for a legislated wage adjustment, insisting that any improvement in the benefits of workers should be implemented nationwide and across all sectors.

On Sunday, Zubiri said the country’s economic growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic would help private companies absorb the cost of the proposed increase in the daily pay of workers all over the country.


“I spoke to several businessmen who are agreeable with the move to increase wages as they have seen a marked increase in Filipino workers wanting to leave the country and work abroad,” Zubiri told the Inquirer.

He said increasing the basic salary of employees would yield “a more productive and inspired workforce.”

Another wage hike nixed

The majority of his colleagues were supportive of the proposal, according to the Senate leader.

“The Senate will make a stand on this issue,” Zubiri said.

Meanwhile, two private sector groups have cautioned against pushing for another wage hike.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, told the Inquirer that only 8 million people out of the country’s estimated 50 million workers — or those who are in the formal sector — stand to gain from more wage increases.

“The other 42 million do not have employers. These are the farmers, fishermen, tricycle drivers [and] vendors,” Ortiz-Luis said in a phone interview.

He said the results of a recent Pulse Asia survey, which is being used to justify another round of wage increase should be reviewed, even as he questioned whether respondents in the poll were informed that most of the country’s workforce would not benefit from another wage hike.

For her part, Management Association of the Philippines president Benedicta Du-Baladad said the impact of another wage hike should be studied first before pushing through with another one through legislation.

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“We have to balance the demands of labor and the financial capacity of businesses to absorb the additional cost. This may result in layoffs and [at] worst, closure of businesses, which is a bigger problem. It is killing the goose that lays the golden egg,” Du-Baladad said in a message sent to the Inquirer.


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TAGS: Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Management Association of the Philippines, Metro Manila wage hike, Risa Hontiveros

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