The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has filed a P418 wage hike petition before the Region 11 wage board based in Davao City.
The proposed amount is on top of the existing P396 current minimum wage rate which covers Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, Davao de Oro, and Davao City.
“Once the measure is approved, the current daily minimum wage of P396 will become P814.”
Representative Raymond Mendoza, the TUCP president, said that once the measure is approved, the current daily minimum wage of P396 will become P814.
Mendoza argued that the current minimum wage of P396 in Region 11 can only afford a measly P14.48 per meal for each member of the family.
This, the lawmaker said, is P46.69 lower compared to P61.17/meal/person estimated by the Ateneo Policy Center, using the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Pinggang Pinoy model.
The Ateneo Policy Center also used in its estimates the March 2019 PSA Media Service Market Price of Selected Commodities.
“Our effort to increase the wages of our workers is also in the interest of our national security. Widespread hunger can lead to food riots and other socially and politically disruptive events that we do not want to happen in our society,” the lawmaker explained.
He pointed out that based on 2021 government data, P13,619 per month is the poverty threshold for Region 11, compared with the current minimum wage of only P10, 296 per month, with a purchasing power of about P9,242.
In the 2021 First Semester Poverty Incidence Among Families released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), poverty incidence was 7.9 percent in Davao del Sur; 13.6 percent in Davao del Norte; 24.5 percent in Davao Oriental; 31.7 percent in Davao Occidental; 21.8 percent in Davao de Oro.
“Wages were set to the cost-of-living three years ago. The wages are no longer able to cope with the current cost of living.”
“Wages were set to the cost-of-living three years ago. The wages are no longer able to cope with the current cost of living,” Mendoza said.
He said that the minimum wage earners and their families have already fallen below the poverty level even before the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, and the succeeding oil price hikes that are now pushing the prices of basic goods and services.
“The fact that our minimum wage earners have become the newly poor is a blatant injustice that must be seriously and urgently addressed by the government,” Mendoza said.
Meanwhile, TUCP also debunked the position of some individuals and groups that wage increase is not timely given the possible rollback in the prices of oil products.
The group surmised that although there could be a possibility of a temporary rollback of oil prices, the costs of oil will continue to increase in the long term because of the international supply problem.
“We are deeply concerned that with the looming price hikes in the basic commodities, including electricity and transport fares, our workers and their families could not survive this time and that is unacceptable to us,” he said.
Mendoza also warned that “if substantial wage adjustments will not be granted by the wage boards, malnutrition will become more serious and widespread among our workers and their families, and it will not take a long time that they will experience real starvation.”