MANILA Lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives on Monday filed a bill seeking to set a national minimum wage of PHP750 daily to help Filipino workers cope with the price shocks caused by the tax reform law and other factors.
The seven-member bloc filed House Bill 7787, or the National Minimum Wage Law of 2018.
Members of the Makabayan bloc are Gabriela Reps. Arlene Brosas and Emmi de Jesus, ACT Teacher Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago.
"A PHP750 national minimum wage is what workers need now to somehow cope with the surging prices of goods and services further spiked by the harsh effects of TRAIN law. Truth be told, the wages of our workers have long been stunted and its purchasing power gravely diminished," Zarate said.
Zarate cited a study by the think-tank IBON Foundation, which states that a daily income of PHP1,168 is required to sustain a Filipino family of six.
He added that based on the same IBON study, the current minimum wage has not kept up with the rising cost of living.
The National Capital Region (NCR) has nominal minimum wage of PHP512 but it is just 43.8 percent of the PHP1,168 family living wage.
Zarate noted that this translates to a significant wage gap of PHP656 or 56.2 percent.
"Given the pace of wage increases through the twenty-eight-year period of regionalized wage regime, this is a gap that no worker in the country can ever hope to close even if the reference is the highest regional minimum wage of PHP512 per day in the National Capital Region," the legislators said in the bill's explanatory note.
The group stressed the urgency of the bill's passage given the "exploding impact" of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law on wages.
The group said the surge in the prices of oil, electricity, rice and other basic goods and services in the last five months brought about by the new TRAIN taxes have "devoured" the wages of Filipino workers, according to some estimates, by 25-30 percent.
The TRAIN law imposes higher excise taxes on sweetened beverages, oil, vehicles and cigarettes to compensate for reduced personal income tax rates. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency