Opposition solon files bill to press P125 wage hike

Published by rudy Date posted on April 25, 2011

A counterpart bill to press for a P125 daily across-the-board legislated wage increase has been made by an opposition member of the Senate’s majority bloc.

Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. is pushing a new round of salary increase for private sector workers despite earlier pronouncements made by Malacañang, ruling out the possibility of such this year.

Palace’s position was further reinforced by the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) which claimed that a P125 a day legislated wage hike first introduced by a party-list representatives in lower house early this year, would prove to be very costly, translating nearly P300 billion in additional expenses for companies.

Revilla, president of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, underscored the government’s mandate in providing decent compensation even those in the private sector.

The government, he said, must recognize the importance of the labor force in the national economy and in return, must see to it that they are receiving proper compensation.

In filing Senate Bill 1981, the senator further pointed out that it is the policy of the State to alleviate the living conditions of ordinary Filipinos, including the working class, by ensuring the right of labor in the fruits of production.

“Prices of basic commodities and services are jacking up. Our government must show that it is living up to its promises, and not merely saying words that are nice to hear without actually backing them up with action,” he said.

Revilla also urged private sector employers to reconsider their position on this matter.

“We must guarantee the workers’ right to a living salary and promote social justice through the adoption of measures calculated to ascertain the well-being and economic security of all the members of the community,” the lawmaker said.

The senator stressed it is an opportune time to have a legislated measure to address the mounting call of ordinary workers for a wage increase considering the escalation of prices of goods and services.

“Our citizens, especially the common laborers, must be aided from the impact of inflation. Waiting for the half-year before resolving the issue of wage increase would mean negligence on the part of the government,” he added.

Under the said bill, employers, whether engaged in agricultural or non-agricultural industry and regardless of capitalization and number of employees, shall pay their workers P125 daily across-the-board wage increase.

The increase shall be paid in the following manner: Forty-five pesos a day upon the effectivity of the measure; an additional forty pesos a day a year thereafter; and the remaining amount on the third year.

Defiant employers shall be ordered to pay twice the amount of unpaid benefits of their employees.

But the payment of indemnity shall not absolve the employer from criminal liability, which includes a fine from P25,000 to P100,000 and imprisonment from two to four years, the senator said.

“I believe a gradual P125 daily wage increase is a win-win solution. The economy will further suffer if there a will be a mass lay-off and company closure due to an outright salary augmentation. All we have to do is to compel the employers to comply so we are imposing heavier penalties on the violators,” Revilla said.

Workers are pressing for a legislated P125 wage increase as a relief to the consecutive oil price increases and rising cost of products and services.

The last wage adjustment granted by the regional wage board was in July last year, ranging from P5 to P22.

According to non-government research group Ibon Foundation, the economy actually has more than enough profits to support workers’ call for a P125 wage increase.  –Angie M. Rosales, Daily Tribune

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