LEGAZPI CITY, 1-May-2013 – On the eve of Labor Day and as the Aquino administration refuses to implement a wage hike, Makabayan senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño challenged his fellow senatorial candidates and colleagues in the legislative branch to take action and approve the proposed legislated wage hike for Filipino workers and employees.
“The minimum wage in the country has long been outdated. ‘Libing’ wage at hindi living wage ang tawag ng mga manggagawa dyan. I think it is clear na hindi naman natin maaasahan ang wage boards na tugunan ang pangangailangan ng ating mga manggagawa. What is clear is that they are only keeping minimum wage really at its minimum with Filipinos forced to cut expenses for food and other necessities,” he said.
Casiño lamented how workers in an overwhelming majority of regions receive only more than two hundred pesos a day. He said it is not surprising that the recent NSCB study revealed that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remains the poorest region in the country with a poverty rate of 46.9 percent since the region also has the lowest minimum wage rate at P232, almost half of the National Capital Region’s P456.
“Sa totoo lang, higit isang dekada na iyang P125 across the board daily wage hike na iyan pero hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin naipapasa. Instead, bawat taon either maglalabas ng so-called non-wage benefits o barya-baryang increase ang gobyerno,” Casiño said.
“The Senate and the House of Representatives have a crucial role in remedying this injustice. With the highly contested and varying minimum wage rates of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards and the drastic figures on poverty, the legislative branch should step up and uphold the right of Filipinos to a decent standard of living,” he said.
Earlier, IBON research dismissed claims that wage increase will result in unemployment and lower growth. Government data revealed that the largest real minimum wage increase since 1986 was under former president Corazon Aquino’s administration which saw the second highest growth. Meanwhile, the Arroyo administration had the second lowest real wage increase but had the worst unemployment rate at 11.2%.
“With dole-outs failing to address the root cause of poverty, I think it is about time that government do what it was supposed to do years ago – implement a legislated wage hike. Out of all the important issues that senators and congressmen face everyday, this is among the most crucial. Let us increase the wages of each Filipino worker and we’ll see how this in turn causes a ripple effect of higher incomes, better standards of living, a healthier workforce and a higher demand for goods and services in the local economy,” Casiño said.