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Workers get P125 more
« on: January 18, 2017, 04:12:47 PM »
MINIMUM DAILY WAGE: Workers get P125 more!
Published: December 24, 2006 by The Bohol Standard

Is it a timely Christmas gift for daily wage earners or another political chip of rattled congressmen for propaganda with the elections coming in?

HUNDRED-fifty members of the House of Representatives present during last Wednesday’s session unanimously voted (150-0) to approve on third and final reading, the P125 across-the-board wage increase bill before Congress adjourned its session for the holiday break.

But the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) said the adoption of HB 345 providing for a legislated wage hike could not be considered as a positive development because the reason it was passed on the third reading was not to give the workers the long delayed economic relief but a mere “political act”.

"HB 345 was passed by the House leadership not because they believe it is an overdue and much deserved relief for workers everywhere but as part of its intramurals with the Senate and its efforts to prop up its image for propaganda after the failed Con-Ass (Constitutional Assembly) fiasco," said APL secretary general Joshua Mata.

Mata said P125 as salary increase "will not suffice, much less alleviate workers from the level of poverty but it is a welcome change in policy direction."

"It is after all a step, small as it is, towards ensuring a 'living wage' for the working class," the labor leader said.

He, however, warned both chambers from diluting the spirit of the bill by turning it into another “political chip for propaganda points especially with the elections coming in.”

“We do not want the P125 wage hike bill to suffer the same fate as the public sector pay hike bill which was tossed around in an ego game between the Senate on the one hand and the House and the Executive on the other,” he stressed.

The National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) estimated that as of October this year, a family of six in the National Capital Region (NCR) would require a living wage amounting to P764 a day

Meanwhile, Party-list Rep. Crispin Beltran, the principal author of the proposed wage increase or House Bill 345, yesterday said other party-list lawmakers who were advocating the measure, have expressed elation over the its passage last Wednesday, branding it the “most welcome, greatest work and historic, major breakthrough” in the House.

The increase would not be “too hard” for employers since this will be given over a period of three years – P45 during the first year, and P40 for the second and third year. Beltran also appealed to the Senate to pass the same proposal the soonest time possible.

He added, while it may be too late for the Senate to act on the matter, such move would still be very much welcome for the workers who have been demanding salary increases for several years now.

According to Rep. Teodoro Casiño, the last time that government increased the salary of the workers was in 1989.

“This is historical and a major breakthrough, the last legislated wage hike being in 1989 just before the regionalization of wage via wage boards. We hope the Senate immediately passes its counterpart bill by January so our workers can enjoy the increase at the start of the year,” Casiño said.

Both Beltran and Casino said they found it hard to pass the bill, and last Wednesday’s passage of the proposed measure was a work of a miracle, and that they are again hoping for another miracle in the Senate.

“We can always hope for a miracle that the good senators fill find it in their heart to approve the bill and stand up against Malacañang and the employers groups,” he said.

The lawmakers also challenged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to restrain itself from issuing statements against the bill’s passage, and instead laud the measure and put its support behind it.

As usual, the business sector received the news with apprehension. They howled saying business can’t afford it. (SEE separate story: “Business can’t afford...”)

“It will have a serious effect on the economy resulting to massive lay-offs of workers,” they said. (With reports from Tribune, DBP/MSN/Sunnex)

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