The onslaught of price hikes since early this year has made the mandated minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) even more inadequate for millions of Filipino workers to decently support their families, said research group IBON.
IBON computations show that the NCR nominal minimum wage still falls considerably short of the rising family living wage (FLW). As of March 2018, Php1,168 is needed daily to support a family of six, while Php973 is needed for a family of five. Worsening inflation has increased the FLW needed from the same period last year by Php57 for a family of six and by Php48 for a family of five (a 5.2% increase for both).
The minimum wage however has not kept up with the rising cost of living. The NCR nominal minimum wage of Php512 is just 43.8% of the Php1,168 FLW in March this year. This translates into a significant wage gap of Php656 or 56.2 percent, said the group. For a family of five, the gap was nearly half (47.4%) of the FLW. These wage gaps grew despite the regional wage board’s approval of a Php21 minimum wage increase from Php491 to Php512 last October 2017.
IBON said that the wage discrepancy is just as wide as the same period last year. In March 2017, the nominal minimum wage in the NCR of Php491 was 44.2% of the Php1,111 FLW for a family of six. This was a wage gap of Php620 or 55.8 percent.
The group also noted that the average daily basic pay of wage and salary workers in NCR has declined under the Duterte administration. Latest official figures show that the NCR average daily basic pay fell from Php557.46 in July 2016 to Php542.16 in July 2017.
Workers’ minimum wages cannot cope with the higher prices that are driving up inflation and the cost of living, said the group. The 5.2% inflation rate for the NCR in March 2018 is so far the highest in five years according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
IBON said that there should be an immediate, substantial and across-the-board minimum wage increase against the high inflation. The government should approve and mandate the Php750 national minimum wage that workers groups are calling for. Implementation of TRAIN Package One which is among the drivers of inflation should also be suspended and the law reviewed towards being amended to become genuinely progressive. It should also ensure job security, necessary benefits, better working conditions, as well as much-needed social services that will assist Filipino workers and their families in meeting their basic needs, said the group. ###
Note: The FLW was computed using the Consumer Price Index which was recently rebased to 2012 from 2006.