DAVAO, Philippines – Members of the United Pantaron Banana Workers Union (UPBWU) in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte filed a petition seeking for a P100 wage increase for non-agricultural and agricultural workers in the region.
The union filed the petition at the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Davao region on April 6 demanding for a daily increase on the minimum wage citing the impact of the pandemic to the workers.
“Kabalo mi nga kining P100 nga usbaw dili kini paigo aron moduol ngadto sa kinahanglanong kitaon sa usa ka pamilya. Apan usa na kini ka kahupayan kung ihatag. Usa kini ka emerhensiyang kahupayan (We recognized that this P100 wage increase, even if not enough to pull closer to the needed family living wage, is still a relief to the workers. If granted it will only compensate the loss value of their wages because of the incessant price increases. Hence, it is an emergency relief),” said Jay Panague, UPBWU president.
Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) backed up the petition of UPBWU saying that the P396 minimum wage in the region has already devalued due to the continuing increase of the prices of commodities.
They lamented that the P396 is way off the mark citing the research of IBON Foundation which shows that a family of five needs at least earn P1,057 daily to meet up the basic needs.
According to IBON Foundation, the Duterte administration gave the least number of wage hikes and lowest wage increases of any administration in the past 35 years. The research group said that it has been more than two years or 27 months since the Duterte administration’s last wage hike to P537 in November 2018.
KMU Southern Mindanao spokesperson Paul John Dizon compared how the government favored big businesses when President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act on March 26.
“We are left behind by this administration. First, Duterte promised to end contractualization but did not do so. Now, our income had further devalued yet a wage increase is not on their table. The Duterte administration has been proven to be subservient to the businesses and not to the workers,” Dizon added.
However, the Department of Finance (DoF) in a statement said that the law aims to provide businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), one of the largest stimulus packages ever in the country’s history in the form of sizable cuts in corporate income taxes (CIT) and a redesigned fiscal incentives system to better attract investments and create jobs.
“The CREATE Law will right away benefit MSMEs by way of lower CIT rates and other tax relief measures. This culmination of years-long intense discussions on the rationalization of tax incentives for businesses spells finis to the prolonged investor uncertainty over the final shape of this corporate taxation reform and signals to the rest of the world that the Philippines is back in the game to attract investments, create jobs, and achieve inclusive growth,” said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
But latest results of OCTA Research’s ‘’Tugon ng Masa’’ national survey showed that half of the Filipinos chose wage increase as the top issue that the Duterte administration should address immediately.
Around 47% of adult Filipino respondents in the survey want to improve or increase the salaries of workers. The issue is the most urgent national concern across the three socio-economic classes (ABC, D, and E) in the survey.
The Department of Labor and Employent (DOLE XI) office in the region told DavaoToday through electronic mail that the petition will be tackled in the board meeting this month.