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Wage Hike Pressed
In The Press Posted on May 15th, 2011.
THE House of Representatives has not abandoned the measure seeking a legislated P125 across-the-board minimum wage increase for private workers, amid the P22 increase in the emergency cost of living allowance which critics dismissed as insufficient. Northern Samar Rep. Emil Ong, chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment tackling the wage bill, pointed out that the basic pay increase is entirely different from ECOLA. “Yes, those are two different things. Sa Cola lang iyun. Parang additional living allowance due to the increase of the basic necessities. Ang sa aming committee iyung basic salary,” said Ong. Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda “Luz” Ilagan said the ECOLA increase was “an insult” to workers. It is a slap on the face. … It is proof that the Aquino government treats workers like dirt,” said Ilagan. Ilagan agreed with Ong that Congress should consider the P125 wage hike bill since wage boards cannot be expected to push for the workers’ interest. “What can P22 buy?” she said. Anakpawis Rep. Rafael V. Mariano said “the P22 Emergency Cost of Living Allowance granted by the wage board is a grave insult to workers and their families. It is far from enough to augment the widening gap of the daily cost of living and cushion the damaging impacts of successive price hikes.” “While the government chose to give workers crumbs, President Benigno Aquino III became richer by P4.5 million after just a year in office. Workers are not beggars, don’t give them alms,” said Mariano who authored House Bill No. 375 calling for the granting of a P125 daily across-the-board legislated wage increase. “It is high time to abolish the regional tripartite wages and productivity boards for their callous and inconsiderate determination of wage hikes for Filipino workers. Wage boards were created to undermine the workers’ just fight for a national minimum wage and serves only in securing the profit margins of employers and capitalists,” he said.