MANILA, Philippines – Senator Manny Pacquiao said he will push for a minimum wage hike, after trying to budget P5,000 for a month worth of groceries.
On Wednesday, February 23, Pacquiao went to Balintawak Public Market and Farmers’ Market in Cubao to “demonstrate the struggles of the majority of Filipinos” who are minimum wage earners.
Pacquiao said only P2 was left from his budget and he was able to buy rice, vegetables, chicken, and fish. Despite wanting to spend on beef or pork, he said he was unable to do so and estimated that the number of groceries he bought would only last for 20 days for a family of four.
“Hindi nga ako nakabili ng karne ng baboy o baka dahil talagang hanggang manok lang, isdang tilapia at galunggong ang ating nabili. Volume na nga ang ginawa ko pero hindi talaga sapat para sa isang buwan. Paano pa kaya iyong mahihirap nating kababayan na kung mamili ay tingi-tingi lang?” he said.
(I was unable to buy beef or pork because my budget could only accommodate tilapia and galunggong. I purchased by the volume but it really showed that [P5,000] was not enough for a month. How about the poor who buy in small quantities?)
Citing the National Economic and Development Authority, Pacquiao noted that an average Filipino family spends some 30% of their income on food. In Metro Manila, the minimum wage is at P537 a day.
Pacquiao said that the salaries should be increased, but noted that the government should also “adjust” by way of reducing taxes to prompt employees to increase take-home pay.
“Although magiging disadvantage din sa mga company, mga employer, importante siguro diyan ang gobyerno ang mag-adjust.…Ibaba natin taxes para ’di na sila mahirapan. Instead na ibabayad nila sa taxes, isusuweldo nila doon sa mga trabahante nila,” the aspiring president said.
(Although this is going to be a disadvantage for companies, employers, perhaps, it is important that the government adjusts. We need to lower taxes so that they will not be burdened. Instead of paying taxes, they should spend it on their employers’ salaries.)
Pacquiao also said that wages should be standard across the regions, which, in effect, meant that he is pushing for the removal of regional wage boards.
Under Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act, each region in the Philippines has a unique minimum wage set by the regional wage boards based on the cost of living and poverty threshold, among others. Because of this arrangement, Metro Manila has a higher minimum wage compared to the regions.
Labor groups have long pushed for the abolition of wage boards and the setting of a national minimum wage.
He also reiterated his promise of bringing in more investors to the regions.
He also noted that the government should be focused on their country’s supply and production of goods to avoid a shortage and to ensure lower prices in public markets. – Rappler.com