President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stated that an increase in the country’s minimum wage could be adopted shortly to protect employees from the economy’s “rapid expansion.”
According to the Presidential Communications Office, this came after International Labor Organization Director General Gilbert F. Houngbo paid a courtesy call in Malacanang.
Marcos stated that the administration, through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), had met with workers, labor unions, and groups to find a middle ground and reduce “inflationary pressures” on workers.
“But I think our negotiations with workers, with the unions, with the different negotiations, we will be able to come to a good working number, a good compromise,” Marcos said.
In May, the Department of Labor and Employment said that 10 pay increase applications were pending and being reviewed by several Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs).
Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma stated that the DOLE would propose the Philippine Development Plan 2020-2023 to Marcos and the other Cabinet members before hosting a national tripartite meeting.
Marcos stated that rapid industrialization and economic progress could harm the labor sector.
“When there is rapid industrialization and rapid expansion of the economy, there is a tendency to leave the labor sector behind and just exploit the labor sector,” Marcos said.
Minimum wage hike may happen soon – Pres. Marcos
“Our workers, of course, are asking for a (wage) increase, workers in those small businesses. We might drive the businesses out because they (employers) cannot pay because they are too small,” Marcos said.
Laguesma believes the DOLE will be able to handle the issue within a week because the majority of enterprises in the country are micro and small.
Marcos reassured those who lost their jobs during the pandemic that there were DOLE initiatives available to them.
“I think the important part of this whole discussion is that we continue to make sure that we are protecting our workers and their families, especially after the pandemic…” Marcos said.
“There has already been a social program in place for the lowest income stratum of our economy. But now, there is a special program under the Department of Labor and Employment,” he added.
“There is a special program for those workers who… find themselves out of work right now, they cannot travel, they cannot go anywhere. So we had to find a way to support them,” Marcos said.