Congress urged to review regional wage system

Congress urged to review regional wage system to address disparities

/ 05:15 PM February 11, 2024

Senate keen to pass legislated wage hike


MANILA, Philippines — Congress is being urged to review the regional wage fixing mechanism for “unintentionally” creating wage disparities among laborers in different parts of the country.

According to Federation of Free Workers president Atty. Sonny Matula, the establishment of Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards 35 years ago under the Wage Rationalization Act or Republic Act (RA) 6727 originally intended to “foster economic balance through regional minimum wages.”


READ: Gov’t must hike daily wage to curb inflation, says labor leader


However, this instead created “significant disparities and discrimination among workers,” Matula, who ran in 2022 for senator but lost, said in a statement.

“The current setup has further exacerbated discrimination against workers in provincial and rural areas, especially those in agriculture, undermining the dignity of numerous Filipino workers,” he noted.

This, the lawyer pointed out, then resulted in mass migration to Metro Manila, where the minimum wage is generally higher than that in the provinces.

Matula, who is also the Chairperson of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, explained that while a P25 national wage increase was granted through RA 6727, it replaced a uniform national minimum wage with that of a “complex regional wage system.”

“This has not only complicated the wage structure but also caused confusion in its application, making it difficult for workers to stay informed of the varying minimum wages within even a single region or province,” his statement continued.

“Nagkaisa, therefore, urges Congress to review and amend the present regional wage fixing mechanism instituted under RA 6727 aimed at satisfying the constitutional mandate of granting workers a living wage — as mandated in Articles XIII and XV of the Constitution,” Matula said.


Regional wage

The labor leader emphasized that each Filipinos’ needs are the same regardless of which region they belong to.

“Hindi magkakaiba ang sikmura ng pamilya ng manggagawa sa NCR [National Capital Region], Calabarzon, at BARMM [Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao],” the lawyer’s statement further stressed.

(The needs of families in NCR, Calabarzon, and BARMM are not different.)

READ: P100 daily wage hike bill reaches Senate floor

At present, the daily minimum wage for non-agricultural work in NCR is at P573 to P610, P385 to P520 in Calabarzon, and P316 to P341, according to the Department of Labor and Employment-National Wages and Productivity Commission.

Meanwhile, Matula commended the Senate’s discussion and “likely approval” of a P100 daily nationwide minimum wage hike calling it a “timely gift for workers on Valentine’s Day.”

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Senate BillNo. 2534 proposing the wage hike has already reached the Senate floor.

TAGS: Labor, Legislation, Wage

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