QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced Monday (July 9) that regional workers are possible to receive minimum wage increase before the end of July.
Bello added that DOLE proposed for P200 monthly subsidy to around 4.1 million minimum wage earners in the country which is now awaiting the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte. The President might announce the approval on the matter during his state of the nation address (SONA) on the 23rd of July.
“Ito’y isang konting tulong lang na cash subsidy galing sa ating gobyerno,” Bello confirmed.
Currently, the Wage Board is still studying the petition of labor groups for an increase in minimum wage in all regions.
Though the latest increase was granted in October 2017, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress Of The Philippines (ALU-TUCP) Spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said they are compelled to ask for another increase because of the sudden spike in prices of basic commodities and the impact of rising inflation.
“Ang aming hinihiling ay P320 across the board wage increase,” he said.
Research group Ibon Foundation, meanwhile, argued that the government seems to agree that the current minimum wage is not enough that’s why it is opted to provide a subsidy to ordinary workers which, in the end, would be an additional burden to taxpayers.
“Iyong sinasabi nilang subsidy isa yang mekanismo that is unmanageable and costly for government para lang maprotektahan nya yung business profit,” said Ibon’s Executive Editor, Rosario Bella Guzman.
But for his part, Bello said that though he agreed that ordinary workers’ daily wage is obviously low, he explained that the current economic state of the country should also be taken into consideration.
“Kung itaas mo yung ating sweldo, baka tataas nga ang sweldo liliit naman ang employment. So we have to balance,” the Labor Secretary concluded. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo