Bong Go

Bong Go supports across-the-board wage increase initiatives in Senate

May 15, 2023 People's Journal 338 views

AS the economy continues to gradually recover from the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, a member of the Senate Committee on Labor, expressed strong support for initiatives in the Upper Chamber seeking an across-the-board increase in daily wages nationwide.

“Dahan-dahan na tayong bumabangon dahil sa magandang pandemic response natin. Manageable na ang COVID-19 pero huwag pa rin tayo magkumpyansa. Matapos na mailigtas ang buhay mula sa sakit, siguraduhin naman natin ang laman ng kanilang tiyan,” said Go.

“No Filipino should be left behind in our road towards full and inclusive economic recovery. By being inclusive, we mean not just business owners and investors benefiting from the improving economy but also even the most ordinary workers, especially the daily wage earners. Yung mga isang kahig isang tuka, huwag natin pabayaan,” he further stressed.

On May 11, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product grew by 6.4% in the first quarter of this year. It exceeded estimates made by economists. It is, by far, the fastest growth rate in Southeast Asia, beating Indonesia with 5.03% and Vietnam with 3.32%.

The International Monetary Fund, however stressed recently that the country’s economic growth must be sustained at 6% this year considering the inflation rate that remains high. In a statement, the Fund said “Risks to inflation remain on the upside, and a continued tightening bias maybe appropriate until inflation falls decisively within the 2-4 percent target range.”

“Nag-expand nga ang ating economy pero mataas pa rin ang inflation rate. Ibig sabihin, mataas pa rin ang presyo ng mga bilihin at serbisyo.

Isipin natin ang mga pinakamahihirap na mga manggagawa natin, yung mga daily wage earners, na nahihirapan nang magbudget, halos isang kahig, isang tuka na lang sa taas ng presyo,” stressed the senator.

While the Senator acknowledges that the government has to balance the interest of the employers and workers, Go reminded that companies and enterprises recently enjoyed a lower income tax through the passage of Republic Act No. 11534 or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or “CREATE” which was approved by former president Rodrigo Duterte.

On March 14, Senate Bill No. 2002, also known as the Across-the-Board Wage Increase Act of 2023, was filed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri. It targets to increase private-sector daily wages in all regions by P150. “The proposed wage hike will apply to the entire private sector, agricultural and non-agricultural, regardless of capitalization and number of employees,” says a press release from the office of the Senate President.

Zubiri expects that the committee report will be ready within two weeks, hoping that the measure be approved by the Senate before its adjournment next month. The Committee on Labor and Employment, chaired by Senator Jinggoy Estrada, recently approved in principle the said bill, co-authored also by Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda. Senator Go also plans to co-author the bill.

Other similar measures tackled by the committee were SBN 2018 filed by Senator Bong Revilla, and proposed measures reviewing labor and wage policies and the Wage Rationalization Act of 1989 which created the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards, filed by Senator Raffy Tulfo and Estrada.

Go, an ardent advocate of labor welfare, also filed measures seeking to provide better protection and benefits to workers. He filed SBN 2107, or the “Freelance Workers Protection Act”, which seeks to provide protection and incentives for freelance workers. The measure aims to recognize the rights of freelance workers and ensure that they are protected and adequately compensated for their services.

Earlier this year, he filed SBN 1705 which proposes to increase the service incentive leave of private sector employees; and SBN 1707 which seeks to provide competitive remuneration and compensation packages to social workers in the country.

Last year, Go also filed SBN 1183, or the proposed “Media and Entertainment Workers’ Welfare Act”, which seeks to provide enhanced protection, security and incentives for media workers through additional health insurance package, overtime and night differential pay, and other benefits.

To ensure that those who reside in rural areas lacking job opportunities are taken care of, Go also filed SBN 420, which seeks to offer temporary employment to eligible members of low-income rural households who are ready to perform unskilled physical labor for a period of time.

In addition, the senator filed SBNs 1184 and 1191 which aim to further protect the welfare and interest of the country’s delivery service riders and seafarers, respectively.