Labor group asks Marcos to prioritize wage hike bill 

THE BIGGEST labor coalition in the Philippines on Tuesday urged President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to certify as urgent a bill seeking to provide a P150 minimum wage increase for private sector workers. 

In a statement, Nagkaisa said there is a pressing need for a wage increase due to rising prices. It added that there’s no reason for the president not to prioritize the legislated wage hike if he could do the same for the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund, which congressmen approved on Dec. 15. 

“Workers’ demand for a wage hike is more pressing than the Maharlika Investment Fund, thus, the higher need for certification,” it said. “A wage increase is more urgent, as it impacts the daily survival not only of individuals but of entire families.” 

Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri earlier filed Senate Bill 2002 for an across-the-board wage increase that will cover private and agricultural workers. 

The labor coalition said a push for the wage hike in Congress is needed since employers’ groups and foreign investors are likely to oppose the measure. 

Under the Constitution, a president can only certify a bill as urgent if there is a public emergency or calamity that requires the immediate passage of a law. 

In March, Unity for Wage Increase Now! sought to raise the P570 daily minimum wage in Metro Manila to P1,100. The region’s wage board approved a P33 minimum wage hike in June last year. 

Every wage order approved by a Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, based on economic indicators and other related factors, is subject to final approval by the Labor secretary. 

Wage boards can only act on wage petitions a year after a region’s last wage order. 

April inflation eased to 6.6% from 7.6% a month earlier, but it was still faster than 4.9% a year earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on May 5. 

“The entire labor movement in the country has come together to push for a significant wage increase demand as the working class, both in the private and public sector, formal and informal, were all hit by the worsening cost of living crisis,” Nagkaisa said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez