THE three-member Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives filed on Monday, March 13, 2023, an across-the-board wage hike of P750 for all employees in the private sector.

House Bill 7568 was filed by Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Representative France Castro, and Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel “to close the gap between the current minimum wage and the calculated family living wage across regions.”

The proposed measure will cover all private sector employees, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, regardless of the employment status and position of workers and regardless of the industry classification and location of the enterprise.

“This yawning average minimum wage-family living wage gap of P750 across regions starkly represents the vast sea of unfulfilled basic necessities of ordinary Filipino families, which the national government should urgently address through substantial wage increases amid historic inflationary surges,” Brosas said in a statement.

“Tumataas ang tubo ng mga kumpanya tapos may savings pa sa mas mababang buwis sa ilalim ng Create Law, ngunit hindi naman tumataas ang sahod ng mga manggagawa,” she added.

(Companies’ profits increase after savings from lower taxes under the Create Law, but the workers’ wages did not increase.)

Citing the BusinessWorld Top 1000 Corporations in the Philippines report, the aggregate gross revenue of the top companies jumped to 17.5 percent in 2021, which equates to P13.44 trillion, from the P11.44 trillion posted during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

It was the fastest gross revenue growth since the 24.4 percent expansion recorded in 2001.

The measure also includes a wage subsidy program for micro and small enterprises to assist them in complying with the significant wage increase.

The bill stated that it shall be unlawful to lay off workers, or to downsize merely to comply with the wage increase.

Brosas urged President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to certify as urgent House Bill 7568 to bring direct and concrete relief to millions of Filipino workers across the country.

Meanwhile, in a television interview, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president emeritus and Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines Vice President George Barcelon expressed opposition to the P750 proposed wage hike, noting it is “too high” and it will badly impact the small businesses.

“Hindi ko malaman. Ano ba nasa isip nila magpo-propose ng increase na wala sa lugar?” he said.

(I don’t know. What do they have in mind to propose an increase that is out of place?)

“I am all for an adjustment that is based on economic factors, that is based on the bigger picture of sustainability dito sa ekonomiya,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)