Brosas: Proposed ₱750 wage increase covers all private employees

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 15) — The proposed measure seeking a ₱750 increase in the daily wages across the country covers all private employees, regardless of position or status of employment, a proponent of the bill said Wednesday.

Ang coverage po ng wage increase natin, supposedly kung private sector s'ya, agricultural, non-agricultural, plantation-based, or non-plantation-based, kasama yung mga special economic zones, freeport zones, regardless of position, designation, status, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are being paid,” Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

[Translation: Our wage increase covers those from the private sector, agricultural, non-agricultural, plantation-based, or non-plantation-based, as well as those in the special economic zones, freeport zones, regardless of position, designation, status, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are being paid.]

This week, the Makabayan bloc, namely Brosas, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel filed House Bill 7568. 

READ: Lawmakers push for nationwide wage hike

Also known as the ₱750 Across-the-Board Nationwide Daily Wage Increase Act, the bill wants to add the amount to wages in all 17 regions of the country to “close the gap between the current minimum wage and the calculated family living wage" nationwide.

Brosas noted that it has been decades since the last significant increase in the wages of workers despite the continuing rise in the prices of goods.

“It’s due time na na malaman ng mga tao na hindi na talaga nagwo-work ‘yung ating wage sa ngayon,” the lawmaker said. “‘Yung amount ng wage natin, napakababa, hindi talaga siya kinakaya ng mga pamilya ng mga mamamayan natin.”

[Translation: It's due time that the people know that our current wage is not working. The amount of our wage is very low that our people's families cannot sustain.]

While there may be job losses, Brosas said increasing the daily wage still has a strong economic multiplier effect. Doing so will allow workers to spend more, which in return will help small businesses, generate more employment, and spur growth even in the countryside, she added.

The lawmaker also disagreed with the statement made by Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) President Sergio Ortiz-Luis. He said less than 20% of employees will benefit from the increase, and that this could hurt micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME).

Brosas said the bigger corporations, which account for 42% of the total employment, can shoulder the proposed increase since they still earned despite the ongoing health crisis.

On wage subsidies for MSMEs, the government can fund this through sources like unprogrammed appropriations or wealth tax to assist small businesses in providing the increased wage, she noted.

Aside from the Makabayan bloc, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri also filed Senate Bill 2002, or the Across-the-Board Wage Increase Act of 2023, which pushes for ₱150 increase nationwide.