Quimbo: House backs wage hike, but will study proposals intently

Quimbo: House backs wage hike, but will study proposals intently

/ 05:50 PM February 21, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo has clarified that while the House is not against daily minimum wage hike proposals, these should be studied intently to achieve equitable distribution of increased salaries.

Quimbo, in a press briefing on Wednesday, explained that they are worried that the P100 across-the-board increase may not be enough for some workers, like those in the National Capital Region (NCR) because the cost of living is higher in Metro Manila than in some provinces.

According to the lawmaker, a P100 per day increase for minimum wage earners in NCR corresponds to a 16 percent increase, but for Zamboanga Peninsula, it is a 26 percent increase.  Meanwhile, Quimbo noted that the per kilogram price of milkfish is at P160 in Zamboanga and P170 in NCR — which means the increases given to NCR workers are easily negated.


“So katulad nga po ng sinabi ko sir, basta pagdating sa wage hike, ay suportado naman po natin ang pag-suporta o pag-protekta ng welfare ng ating mga manggagawa.  Ang kailangan lang nating siguraduhin is kung ano ang ibinigay natin with our left hand sa mga manggagawa, ayaw naman natin na mawala sa kaliwang kamay through economic effects ang binigay natin,” Quimbo said.


(So, like I said earlier, in terms of a wage hike, we support measures to protect the welfare of our workers.  What we need to ensure is that what we can give with our left hand to workers, would not be lost through economic effects.)

“‘Yon ang kailangan nating seguraduhin.  At the same time katulad ng nabanggit ko kanina, iba-iba nga po ang presyo sa bawat region.  So baka ‘yong P100 po baka kulang na kulang po dito sa NCR, baka sapat siya sa ibang region baka kulang na kulang dito sa NCR kasi mas mataas po ang presyo ng bilihin dito sa NCR,” she added.

(That’s what we have to ensure.  At the same time, as I mentioned earlier, there are different prices of goods per region.  So maybe the P100 for NCR is insufficient, but will be enough for other regions because prices of goods in NCR are higher compared to other areas.)

Quimbo said that a wage increase would also lead to higher contributions for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and other mandatory insurance premiums.  Hence, the lawmaker suggested that the government exempts minimum wage earners from contributing to PhilHealth.

Doing so, the Marikina lawmaker said, in effect would raise salaries without cost to employers.

“Habang pinag-aaralan nang masusi ng Kongreso ang mga maaring gawin para sa pagtaas ng sahod ng ating mga manggagawa, I filed House Resolution 1595. This seeks to utilize the unspent appropriations allocated to PhilHealth for premium subsidies, providing immediate financial relief to the country’s minimum wage earners,” she said.


(While Congress is intently studying what can be done to increase the salaries of our workers, I filed House Resolution 1595.)

“This is equivalent to providing a wage increase without cost to the employers. Ang temporary suspension ng premium contributions ng minimum wage earners ay magreresulta sa pagtaas ng take home pay nila, at ang pagtaas ay depende sa rehiyon,” she added.

(The temporary suspension of premium contributions and minimum wage earners will result in higher take-home pay for workers, and the increase would depend on the region.)

Last Monday, the Senate approved on third reading Senate Bill (SB) No. 2534, which calls for a P100 across-the-board increase in private sector workers’ minimum wage earners.

The House has counterpart measures to SB No. 2534, which are still pending with the Committee on Labor and Employment.  Quimbo said the panel will start hearing the bills on Tuesday, February 27.

Initially, the House appeared to be lukewarm to wage hike proposals, with economic experts including Quimbo fearing that such measures might be inflationary — as companies may pass additional cost due to higher salaries onto the prices of goods and services.

Another economist in Albay 2nd District, Rep. Joey Salceda, warned that such proposals may hurt micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) — which comprise a huge part of the country’s businesses.

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But labor leaders Luke Espiritu and Leody de Guzman only labeled these fears as excuses pushed forward by big businesses who do not want to lose profits.  According to Espiritu, if the government is sincere in looking after MSMEs, it should subsidize part of the MSME workers’ wages, so that big businesses would be compelled to shell out more for workers.

TAGS: House, Quimbo, wage hike

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