Wage hikes under Aquino smallest since 1990s

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd has no moral authority to describe himself as pro-worker since the wage increases that happened under his administration were the smallest since the 1990s.

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According to independent research group Ibon Foundation, the Aquino administration hiked the minimum wage five times from June 30, 2010 to May 2, 2016.

Ibon said the daily minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) correspondingly rose from P404 in July 2010 to P481 today, or an increase of only P77.00.

“The NCR has the highest minimum wage among all the regions in the country but this is still less than half the family living wage of some P1,090 today,” the group noted.

The government, through the Regional Wage and Productivity Board (RWPB) of each region, intervenes to approve workers’ demand to increase their daily minimum rate.

Putting the wage at the minimum level or lower than that is a clear case of “wage repression.”

According to Ibon, “wage repression is among the biggest reasons why recent rapid growth has been exclusionary and benefiting elites rather than the majority of Filipinos.”

The P77.00 wage hike approved by the Aquino administration in six years was the smallest since the time of the incumbent leader’s mother, President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, the research group said.

Ibon explained that the nominal P77.00 increase was equivalent to an average of only P12.83 a year.

The amount was less than the average P16.35 per year over Gloria Arroyo’s nine-and-a-half years, P20.13 over Joseph Estrada’s two-and-a-half years and P13.33 over Fidel Ramos’ six years.

The P77.00 increase was “also only slightly more than the P12.79 per year over the term of Cory Aquino,” Ibon said.

It added that the NCR minimum wage increased P154 over Arroyo’s term, P52 over Estrada’s, P80 over Ramos’ and P81 over Cory Aquino’s.

Ibon also explained that “the poor wage performance is little changed in terms of the real value of the minimum wage, or taking inflation into consideration. The meager 5.5 percent in the real value under Aquino is less than the 8.5 percent under Arroyo, 10.3 percent under Estrada, and 35.2 percent under Cory Aquino. It is only slightly more than the 3.9 percent increase under Ramos.”

NELSON S.BADILLA

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