MANILA—On Labor Day, members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives called on the government to push for the institutionalization of a national minimum wage of PHP750 a day.
The Makabayan bloc joined in the call of workers during the 114th year commemoration of the International Labor Day in the Philippines.
Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the proposed minimum wage of PHP750 a day is the “amount actually needed by an average Filipino family to have a decent living.”
Zarate said the current minimum wage is “so low” that it does not meet the ideal living wage, or the “amount of family income needed to provide for the family’s food and non-expenditures with sufficient allowance for savings and investments”.
For his part, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao urged President Rodrigo Duterte to repeal the Wage Rationalization Act or Republic Act 6727, which sets different wages in various regions of the country.
“During the electoral campaign, he promised of setting equal rates for workers in Manila, with those in the provinces, especially in Visayas and Mindanao, as we believe, he sees this as manifestation of the ‘imperial Manila,’ or inequality between the urban centers favored by foreign investment and of the provinces,” Casilao said.
Casilao explained that the cost of living is usually higher in the provinces, considering that businesses add the logistical costs on the prices of basic goods and the scarcity of services triggers higher rates.
ACT Teachers Partylist Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro also called for salary increases in both the private and public sectors.
Furthermore, both solons cited the need to enact a pro-people tax reform, describing the proposed new excise taxes on fuel and the value-added tax (VAT) expansion as anti-poor.
“The people’s top concerns should also be Duterte’s top priorities,” said Tinio.
“His administration should therefore heed this resounding clamor of the people by enacting laws that will increase salaries and wages of the working people and junking proposals for more indirect taxes which will only worsen inflation,” he added.