Starting October, minimum wage earners in Metro Manila will be earning Php512; Php21 more than the current rate of Php481.
Wage Order No. NCR-21 which was released by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-NCR states that from Php 481 the minimum wage for non-agricultural sectors will be Php512. Meanwhile, those working in the agricultural, retail and manufacturing sectors will be paid Php475 from the previous Php444 per day minimum wage.
The order is effective to all minimum wage earners in the National Capital Region, regardless of employees’ position or status of employment.
The Regional Wage Board issued the decision on the petitions for wage increase last September 14. Although approved, this was still below the amount proposed by three labor unions last June.
The Associated Labor Unions (ALU) proposed a Php184 increase, while the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) suggested Php259 increase. The Association of Minimum Wage Earners and Advocates (AMWEA) wanted the minimum wage to be raised to Php1,200.
According to ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, “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.”
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These Labor groups are now proposing that the budget from the Office of the President should be used to subsidized the increase.
However, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement that it will be difficult to approve a subsidy since the government would need to spend Php1.3 billion a month or Php15 billion a year.
The decision for the wage increase came after careful consultation among stakeholders involved.