Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 08:50:11 -0600 (CST)
From: IBON Reach Expansion Department <>
Subject: [ibon] Filipino Workers Shortchanged in 2001
Article: 133080
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Filipino workers shortchanged in 2001

IBON press release, January 2002

The government's National Wages and Productivity Commicssion (NWPC) gloated recently that about five million workers benefited from the recent pay adjustments. This accomplishment is trifling if set against the total workforce of 29 million.

IF the NWPC figure is correct, only 17.24 percent of the country's labor force received pay hikes last year, which were separately granted by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards.

Besides, these wage hikes were minuscule and way below the amount needed by the workers to be able to live decently.

Since 2000, the majority of the 15 regional wage boards have given wage increases ranging from P10 to P38. The wage board of Central Visayas, for instance, approved a P15 increase in 2000, staggered over three periods. This brought the minimum wage in Central Visayas to P195 only last December. In Metro Manila a measly P30 wage hike, to be given in two installments, was grudingly added to the P250 daily minimum wage.

These pay adjustments do not make significant changes in meeting the current daily cost of living (DCoL), pegged by IBON at P518.07 for Metro Manila residents as of November 2001. Outside Metro Manila, DCoL computations for agricultural and non-agricultural areas amount to P392.99 and P413.47, respectively.

Worse is the situation of wage earners in other regions whose regional wage boards rejected all demands for even a minimal wage hike.

It is clear that regional wage boards were put up not to protect but deny the workers' right to a living wage. Only a legislated wage increase will alleviate the increasing impoverishment of the country's labor force.