Living wages

As Congress forges ahead towards urgent deliberation and passage of proposed legislated wage hike, such as the ₱150 across-the-board wage recovery increase, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) are desperately scrambling to conduct consultations, hearings, and discuss long-overdue wage hike after 35 years of token increases, stagnant starvation poverty wages, and even ignoring ‘supervening events’ towards “barya-baryang minimum.” The regional wage boards can try all the tricks but they can never mute the people’s pleas, and all they can do is heed the words: DAGDAG SAHOD ISABATAS! 150 PATAAS!

If the regional wage boards are truly sincere in abiding by the marching orders of the President and remaining steadfast in their Constitutional and legal mandate of setting adequate wages to sustain a decent life, the National Wage Coalition, spearheaded by Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition (NAGKAISA!) and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), together with the working class of this nation emphatically demand an immediate wage hike of at least ₱150 towards living wages, not only in Metro Manila but in all the regions of the Philippines, especially since most, if not all, regional minimum wages still fall below the poverty threshold and nowhere near the estimated living wage.

As Congress continues to deliberate towards the immediate passage of a legislated wage of at least ₱150 wage hike, any consultation and public hearing of the regional wage boards should take off from ₱150 wage increase as the starting point instead of more than three decades of mere scraps they call “increases”. It would be a grave shame if the regional wage boards would be discussing and giving an increase less than what Congress, which created the wage boards supposedly to ensure the decent life of workers and their just share in the fruits of production, is urgently tackling towards giving at least ₱150 wage hike as the first pivotal step to reach living wages for every Filipino worker.

Another ‘barya-baryang’ increase will only significantly accelerate the review, reform, and even abolition of the regional wage boards and the gravely unfair, unjust, and inequitable minimum wage determination system that perpetuated the vicious cycle of poverty which, for more than three decades, has incessantly claimed the life, work, and hope of countless Filipino workers and their families.


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