Press Release
April 28, 2010


SENATOR Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. yesterday said the living condition of Filipino workers is dismal even if employment rate has increased to five percent with 36 million people having jobs.

Despite the availability of jobs in the country, the senator said the recent SWS survey showed that 43 percent or 8.1 million families rate themselves as poor and 31 percent or 5.9 million Filipino households consider themselves as food-poor. He blamed the substantial discrepancy between the current minimum wage of the workers and the required living wage."This is because earnings are not enough to sustain the needs of our workers and their families," he said.

He cited the minimum wage rate in National Capital Region (NCR), where workers here are earning P350 a day but the required family living cost is P764 per day, more than twice the minimum wage rate.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is pressing for P75 across-the-board wage increase. Its officials said they have enough ground to ask the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) to approve the increase because private companies have recovered from the global recession and are now thriving.

Though he is supporting the workers' petition, Bong Revilla said the P75 wage increase is still not enough to alleviate the living conditions of the Filipinos. He said the purchasing power of the workers has further eroded with the recent increase of power cost and the imminent price hike of gasoline.

Once elected for another term in the Senate, he vowed to file anew the P125 across-the board wage increase nationwide.

Aiming to protect the working class and ensure economic security of every Filipino family, Bong Revilla first filed the same measure during the 14th Congress. "Salary adjustment should be implemented nationwide and not on a regional basis," he said.

He cited the Region 7 or Central Visayas , where the required family living wage should be P736. Non-Agri workers here are receiving basic earnings of P241 only. "Using the National Statistics Office's (NSO) study of how Filipinos spend their money, a family of five allocates 59 percent of their earnings for food; 21 percent for miscellaneous - vitamins, medicines, clothes and others; 3.8 percent for transportation and communications; nine percent for house rental and maintenance; and 7.3 percent for household utilities - fuel, light and water," he said.

He noted that if a worker in Cebu City is earning a basic salary of P241 daily, his family is spending P142 for food; P50.61 for miscellaneous expenses; P9.15 for transportation and communication; P21.69 for house rental/maintenance; and P17.59 for household utilities.

The senator further pointed out that the prices of basic commodities in the highly-urbanized city are almost the same as in NCR and yet they have different minimum wage rate.

Bong Revilla stressed the need to implement a uniform wage increase as he discussed the special situation in Mindanao , specifically in insurgent-infested Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) region. "Workers keep us afloat during financial crisis. They are most heavily hit, least rewarded," he said.

According to NWPC's estimation, the living wage here should be P1005 but the basic earnings of workers here is P200 only.

The senator explained residents here have to import their foods - such as sugar, noodles, coffee and others from other regions because there are no factories and manufacturing companies of basic commodities in the region. "If the prices of fuel increase, price movement of the products will also take place. When the imported basic commodities reached them, most the time, prices is twofold higher or more," the senator added.

He said the P125 wage increase will go a long way in alleviating the living conditions of workers.

"The proposed increase will give sufficient allowance for savings and investments for social security," he said in a statement.

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