P21 minimum wage increase granted to Metro Manila workers

MANILA, Philippines – Minimum wage earners in Metro Manila will now earn P21 more after the regional wage board issued its decision on petitions for a wage increase on Thursday, September 14.

This brings the minimum wage to P512 from P491, effective October.

The wage hike is way below the amounts that 3 labor unions proposed in their petition filed last June.

The Associated Labor Unions (ALU) sought a P184 increase, while the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) asked for a P259 increase and the Association of Minimum Wage Earners and Advocates (AMWEA) wanted the minimum wage to be raised to P1,200 in 4 tranches. (READ: Labor union to wage board, employers: Try living on P357 a day)

ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay lamented the measly hike.

"The P21 increase in daily wage remains insufficient for families to cope with rising prices of goods and increasing costs of goods. P21 is only 4.27% of the current P491. So it obviously did not lift workers out of poverty. Workers who helped built a high economic growth of 6.9% average gross domestic product do not deserve this very small amount," he said.

The labor unions also stressed that the purchasing power of P491 already slid to just P354.51 in July based on figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC).

Tanjusay said they will be urging President Rodrigo Duterte to grant their request last April for a P500 subsidy for minimum wage earners to alleviate poverty. The subsidy, similar to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, would be in cash voucher form if granted.

Labor groups are proposing that funds from the Office of the President be used for the subsidy.

But Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said it will be difficult to approve the subsidy because it will cost the government P1.3 billion a month or P15 billion a year. – Rappler.com 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.

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