Lawmaker wants gov’t officials to get minimum wage

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Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas wants government officials to be paid minimum wage to get a better feel of the public’s woes.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 14) — A lawmaker wants government officials to be paid minimum wage to get a better feel of the public’s woes.

Kahit ang senador at mga kongresista, minimum wage natin para nang sa ganoon, eksakto. Magkano ang pamasahe, magkano ang pangkain, magkano ang lahat,” Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas told reporters Monday.

[Translation: Even our senators and congressmen, put them all on minimum wage so they would learn how much they need to spend for fares, food and everything else.]

But Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones said that there may be other ways for government officials to know the struggles felt by ordinary Filipinos istead of reducing their pay.

Kung gusto nating pag-aralan talaga ang nararanasan ng ating mga kababayan ngayon, baka may iba pang paraan para gawin ‘yun,” Aragones said.

[Translation: If we want to really study what our countrymen are experiencing now, maybe there are other ways to do it.]

She added that the Civil Service Commission should be left to decide on lawmakers’ salaries.

Brosas’ suggestion came on the heels of a proposal from Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao for all government officials to commute every Monday.

Dapat ‘yung mga kongresista, ‘yung mga senador, maranasan nila. At saka ‘yung Pangulo mismo maranasan niya kung paano talaga ‘yung hirap na dinadanas ng ating mga mamamayan,” Brosas said.

[Translation: Congressmen and senators should experience that. And the President himself should experience how difficult it really is for our people.]

But for Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, these are all “highfalutin suggestions.”

“That's a good suggestion but that's an impractical one,” Gordon said of Siao’s proposal. “Alam ko namang may traffic eh [I know that traffic exists.]”

Following Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s acceptance of left-leaning groups's challenge for him to commute to work, government officials have refused to follow suit.

“[I] just want to say that you need not be on the moon to know that there is a moon,” Guevarra said Sunday in rejecting calls for other government officials to take public transportation.

CNN Philippines’ Xianne Arcanghel, Xave Gregorio and Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.