By Wilnard Bacelonia

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (PNA file photo by Wilnard Bacelonia)

MANILA – The country’s economic growth should be cascaded to the people, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri emphasized as he filed on Tuesday Senate Bill No. 2002 or the Across-the-Board Wage Increase Act of 2023, which seeks to raise wages in the private sector across all regions by PHP150.

Zubiri said if the decrease in the inflation rate to 8.6 percent in February would not be converted to increase in salaries, the gap between rich and poor will grow further.

“What we want is to lift everyone up, broaden our middle-income class, and ensure that every Filipino has the means to enjoy a genuinely decent life. That means empowering people not just to survive, but to actually achieve a level of comfort that allows them to pursue their personal goals and interests, beyond just their work,” the Senate President said.

The proposed wage hike will apply to the entire private sector, agricultural and non-agricultural, regardless of capitalization and number of employees.

At present, the National Capital Region has the highest daily nominal wage rate at PHP570 (non-agriculture), while the lowest is at PHP316 (non-agriculture) for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Although the minimum wages in the private sector are being decided upon by the Regional Wages and Productivity Boards, Zubiri noted that they are constrained to issuing only one wage order per year, unless they declare supervening conditions.

Zubiri said workers deserve to have a decent life considering the effort and sacrifices they have spent to their jobs.

“If workers are putting in hours and hours of labor, day after day, and yet are still unable to afford their rent, bills, and basic necessities, then there is a problem,” he said.

Just last month, Zubiri announced that all 3,000 Senate employees will receive an increased one-time inflationary assistance from PHP12,200 to PHP50,000.

Their medical assistance likewise hiked from PHP30,000 to PHP50,000.

The incentives were sourced from the Senate’s savings. (PNA)