Press Release
May 10, 2023

Zubiri to Biz Sector: We Helped You, Now Let Us Help Our Workers

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources held a hearing for various bills regarding a proposed minimum wage increase, including Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri's Senate Bill No. 2022, or the Across-the-board Wage Increase Act, which proposes a Php150 wage hike for all private sector workers across the country.

The Committee has already approved the measure in principle, and a Technical Working Group is set to discuss a proposed graduated wage increase scheme for MSMEs.

"We expect that the Committee Report will come out in about two weeks, and we hope to pass the bill before we adjourn in June," said Zubiri.

The Senate President stressed that the last legislated minimum wage increase was in 1989, at Php89, before the passage of the Republic Act 6727, which created the Regional Wage Boards.

"Ang nakita po natin, with due respect sa ating Regional Wage Boards, napakababa po ng mga increase nila at napakatagal bago nila aksyunan ang problema ng pagtaas ng bilihin, at ang sigaw ng tao para sa disente man lang na sahod. Kapag umaaksyon naman sila, napakababa ng increase, between Php5.00 to Php16.00 lang," Zubiri said.


To allay fears that a wage hike increase would drive foreign investments away, he laid out minimum wage figures in the Southeast Asian region, citing that Indonesia's minimum wage is equivalent to Php842.00 a day; Malaysia's is Php854.00 a day; and Singapore's is Php2,486.00 a day.

Only Vietnam has a lower minimum wage, equivalent to Php511 a day, but Zubiri emphasized that their cost of living, under the Communist Party of Vietnam, is more affordable compared to the Philippines.

"Wala po silang kaltas sa PAG-IBIG, sa PhilHealth, sa SSS. Dito, ang naiiwan sa ating mga kababayan mula Php570.00 ay Php525.00 na take- home. Pang-Metro Manila lang yan. Hindi pa natin pinag-uusapan sa Bukidnon, sa Mindanao."

In Northern Mindanao, the minimum wage is at Php390.00 for non- agricultural, and Php378.00 for agricultural. In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which has the lowest wages in the country, it is at Php316.00 for non-agricultural, and Php306.00 for agricultural.

Business Sector

"I would like to remind everybody that we already reached a 7.6 percent GDP growth rate, one of our highest since 1976," said Zubiri.

"Pero ang inflation rate natin at the start of the year was 8.7 percent. Bumaba lang po ng 6.6 percent, pero hindi po bumaba diyan ang presyo ng pagkain, kuryente, at tubig. Ang bumaba diyan ay presyo ng iba't ibang industrial products gaya ng cabilla at semento. Hindi naman yan makakain ng mamamayang Pilipino."

Zubiri also reasoned that since many businesses have recouped from the pandemic and are back to making pre-pandemic income, it is now time to share their income with their workers.

"Napaka-controversial na mag-file ng wage hike," he acknowledged, disclosing that he has received many concerned calls and opposition from business groups. "Pero ang dami na ring nagawa ng Senado para sa ating business sector."

In 2021, Congress passed the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE Act), which brought down Corporate Income Tax from 30 percent to 25 percent. Zubiri also detailed how the Senate blocked the Department of Finance's proposal to double the dividends tax, after the passage of CREATE.

"Those were pro-business measures. Ngayon ang akala po namin, dahil may mas malaki po kayong income, sana ay maibahagi niyo po ito sa ating mga kababayan. It's about time that we share. Tinulungan po namin ang business sector with pro-business legislation. Ngayon itaas naman po natin ang sweldo."

News Latest News Feed