Legarda bats for minimum wage increase

February 16, 2024

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda expressed her support for a bill increasing the daily minimum wage by P100 in the private sector to uplift families from poverty.

The four-term senator co-authored and co-sponsored Senate Bill 2534, which Senate passed on second reading.

“It is high time we increase the minimum wage across the board in the private sector to alleviate the financial strain on families,” said Legarda during her co-sponsorship speech.

“By ensuring that families earn a fair wage, we can address concerns about basic necessities. This will enable families to enjoy more fulfilling and stable lives. This is a matter of economic justice and basic human dignity,” she added.

The minimum wage of all workers in the private sector, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, shall be increased by P100 a day upon the effectivity of the law.

Any employer found to have violated the law, if passed, will be fined between P25,000 to P100,000, or imprisonment between 2-4 years, as well as awarding back pay.

Per the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), a Filipino family of five would need at least P13,797 a month or P460 a day to make ends meet.

“By increasing the minimum wage, there is a chance to lift individuals out of poverty. There is a chance for them to be more productive, to pay more taxes, to spend more in our economy, and to be able to live a life that they deserve,” asserted Legarda.

The senator added that workers cannot be ignored and must be protected at all costs as they carry the country’s economy.

The last time a legislated national wage hike in the Philippines was carried out was in 1989 through Republic Act 6727, or the Wage Rationalization Act, which raised the national minimum wage from P64 to P89.

After the enactment of laws such as RA 11534 or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, which lowered the corporate income tax rate, it is now time to prioritize the workers’ welfare.

“We cannot ignore the plight of our workers. They are the ones carrying this economy, and we must protect them at all costs. We must not tolerate inequality and poverty. This is why we must pass this measure,” Legarda concluded. (End)