The quest for a living wage

The quest for a living wage

Infographic courtesy of IBON Foundation

WHEN Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and the so-called Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives separately filed bills calling for a legislated wage hike, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) howled in protest and threatened that raising the daily minimum wage would reduce employment and increase prices.

This club of Pinoy capitalists who may have never experienced a hungry stomach claimed that only up to 16 percent of private sector employees may benefit from this to the detriment of the remaining 84 percent.

“Kailangan natin bigyan ang ating mga manggagawa ng tinatawag nating living wage. Hindi naman minimum wage because the minimum wage is not a living wage,” Zubiri said in his recent interview with ANC’s “Headstart”.

Makes us wonder if these Pinoy capitalists, intelligent and well-bred as they are, ever know the meaning of a living wage.

In February, the economic think tank IBON Foundation estimated that each family of five would need around P842 to P1,944 to provide for all expenditures and keep a standard of living above the subsistence level.

Zubiri is pushing for a P150 daily pay hike for private sector workers while the Makabayan bloc also filed a similar bill pushing for a P750 across-the-board increase in daily wage.

It can be noted that Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) currently has the highest daily minimum wage of P570 while the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BARMM) has the lowest at P316.

“We also have to share. We have to share the blessings,” Zubiri said.

He also observed that the low wages had led to the diaspora of Filipino workers, which he said is about 12 million.

“We don’t pay a decent wage. If we don’t address that, we will have a brain drain. Mawawalan tayo ng workers,” the gentleman from Bukidnon said.

Zubiri really nailed it.

Aside from the United States, as many as 900,000 Filipinos have already migrated to Canada, the second largest country on this planet.

Why? It’s because Canada offers vast opportunities and humane working conditions, including a high minimum wage.

For example, at 13 Canadian dollars (P518) per hour, the province of Saskatchewan has the lowest minimum wage and Nunavut has the highest at 16 Canadian dollars (P624) per hour.

A Filipino couple even claimed to earn an annual income of at least P3.9 million.

No wonder many Filipino doctors and lawyers and even journalists have migrated to Canada or the Great White North.

(Amado Inigo/MTVN)

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