LAWMAKERS on Thursday backed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III’s directive to Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPB) to conduct nationwide consultations on the legislative measures proposing a P125 across-the-board general wage increase in the private sector.
Reps. Rodolfo Albano III of Isabela, Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, Jose Antonio Alvarado of Bulacan, and Sherin Tugna of Cibac party-list said any proposal to augment the present salaries of workers, not only in the public sector, but also in the private sector would be a welcome development.
Albano, member of the majority bloc of the Commission on Appointments, said it is time the state enacted a law that would prescribe a decent amount of wage adjustment for Filipino workers.
“I think it is high time that they [employers] grant the wage increase,” Albano said.
Albano supported Bello’s move that wide ranging consultations among stakeholders must be carried out to determine the amount of necessary salary adjustment across all sectors as well as the capability of employers to give the specified wage hike.
“The proposal for a general wage increase is good if employers across the country can afford it,” Albano said.
Evardone said Congress would support the Duterte administration’s push for a decent wage for all Filipino workers.
“The salary increase is long overdue. We should support the initiative,” Evardone stressed.
Alvarado and Tugna themselves said the proposed P125 across the board wage hike not only for state workers but also private employees is a great idea.
“If we could make it P200 instead of just P125, then we must. The proposed P125 wage hike would be small as this is tax deductible,” Alvarado said.
But Rep. Gus Tambunting of Parañaque City said the P125 wage increase proposal has to be studied carefully as he raised fears for employers who might not have the capacity to afford the wage adjustment.
“While we support legislation that will uplift the lives of the Filipino worker, a wage hike of this magnitude will have severe effects not just on the profitability [but] even the viability of a lot of businesses, especially SMEs [small medium enterprises], [and] a deep impact on the competitiveness of our labor sector,” Tambunting said.
Bello said the Duterte administration is serious in granting considerable wage adjustments for all workers—be they in the public or private sector—to help them cope with the rising cost of living.
“I have instructed all Regional Wage Boards to convene and review the anticipated legislative measures on the P125 wage increase. All workers, whether they are agricultural or non-agricultural, deserve equal treatment under the law,” Bello said.
He added the nationwide consultations are aimed at studying legislative measures on the P125 general wage increase for workers in the private sector which will be filed in the 17th Congress.
The consolidated findings from the consultations conducted by the 17 Regional Wage Boards will be submitted to the Office of the Secretary not later than Sept. 14.
“The proposal for a P125 across-the-board increase has been filed before. We foresee that the same measures will be re-filed in the 17th Congress,” said Bello.
He added the wage boards will consult with workers and employers groups as well as other government agencies during the nationwide consultations to determine if prevailing wage and socio-economic conditions would warrant a P125 across-the-board wage adjustments.