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NOGRALES VOWS TO TACKLE HIGHER WAGES BILLS SOON

Rizal 4th District Rep. Fidel Nograles, chairperson of the labor and employment committee of the House of Representatives said his panel is set to tackle the issue of higher wages soon.

“May mga panukalang batas tungkol sa pagtataas ng sahod na nakatakda nating isalang sa lalong madaling panahon. Once preparations are done and all stakeholders informed, we will proceed with the discussion of these bills,” Nograles said.

A survey by Pulse Asia in June revealed that 57 percent of Filipinos believe the government must take steps to address inflation, while 45 percent are calling for a salary increase.

This was after a back and forth between Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma and House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas over the need to implement a national minimum wage, if not a wage increase, amid the rising prices of basic goods.

“Our existing law of having Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) is still the better approach, and the best approach is collective negotiations so we can see the capacity of employers which provide the terms and conditions for their employees,” Laguesma said during DOLE’s presentation of its proposed P25.8-billion budget for 2023 before the House appropriations committee.

“Implementing Republic Act 6727 (Wage Rationalization Act) is still conducive sa paglilikha ng hanapbuhay sa iba’t ibang rehiyon at ibang oportunidad sa kanayunan. Our direction is that we should ensure wage orders issued by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board are attuned to the times. We look at this yearly, whether there is a petition [for a wage hike] or not,” he added. 

Brosas, meanwhile, expressed hope that the Department of Labor and Employment would make increasing wages a legislative priority.

Several bills have been filed seeking to abolish the RTWPB and to instead implement a general minimum wage across the whole country.

The proposals are seen to help Filipinos cope with the hike in prices of food and other commodities.

“The labor issue is a gut issue because the ability of Filipino families to afford food amid inflation is directly linked to the pay they receive from their jobs.”

Nograles underscored the urgency for deliberating on these bills soon amid growing clamor from workers.

A survey by Pulse Asia in June revealed that 57 percent of Filipinos believe the government must take steps to address inflation, while 45 percent are calling for salary increase.

“The labor issue is a gut issue, because the ability of Filipino families to afford food amid inflation is directly linked to the pay they receive from their jobs. We in Congress understand the clamor of our people and we would like to reassure them that we are taking steps to address the problem,” the lawmaker said.

The solon, however, also called for sobriety, as he said the passage of a national minimum wage is not a “done deal.”

“Mahaba-habang diskusyon pa po ito dahil masalimuot ang issue. While everyone is united in the desire to have higher wages, we also have to ensure that employers are not run to the ground because of this. Kailangang mabalanse natin ang iba’t ibang interes at humanap ng compromise,” Nograles said.

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