SENATE President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri on Wednesday said he will press for the passage of a bill that will provide a P150 minimum wage increase for private sector workers nationwide.
Speaking at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday, Mr. Zubiri said the upper chamber is taking a firm stand on a legislated wage hike, citing the slow and insignificant increases through regional wage boards in the face of inflation.
“[Workers] only receive very minimal wage increases — P10, P7, P15. If you total it, it’s less than P100 in the last how many years,” he said.
He noted that legislated wage hikes were implemented prior to the establishment of Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards in 1989.
Senate Bill No. 2002 or the Across-the-board Wage Increase Act of 2023, with Mr. Zubiri among the authors, will apply to all workers in the private sector, including agricultural workers, regardless of employer size and headcount.
“We’ll also come up with guidelines for the regional wage board to act faster,” Mr. Zubiri said.
He is also seeking a “graduated” form of wage increase for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 99% of businesses in the country.
At the House of Representatives, the Makabayan coalition is pushing for a P750-wage increase for all private sector workers.
The capital region Metro Manila currently has the highest daily minimum wage at P570, while the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has the lowest at P341.
These levels are far from the family living wage, which is estimated at P1,161 in Metro Manila and P1,944 for BARMM, according to think tank IBON Foundation.
Headline inflation slowed to 7.6% in March from 8.6% in February.
“A lot of business are back to pre-pandemic numbers, but our workers are still struggling because their wages are barely increasing,” Mr. Zubiri said in Filipino. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz