THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) on Monday filed a petition seeking to increase the daily minimum wage in the Soccsksargen region in the southern Philippines to P724 from P336, in line with petitions filed with other regional wage boards.
The TUCP cited the rising cost of living, which has far surpassed the ability of workers on minimum wage to afford most expenses.
The TUCP, the largest Philippine labor federation, said in its petition filed before the Soccsksargen wage board that the P25 minimum wage increase granted in 2019 “has long dissipated.”
It said the February inflation level in the region implies that the purchasing power of the P336.00 gross daily minimum wage “is only P295.00.”
On a net basis, “the take-home pay of a minimum wage earner is a measly P309.48/day after the government-mandated deductions, with a purchasing power of 271.71/day.”
It cited the 2021 government estimate of a P13,298.00/month poverty threshold for Region XII, compared with the current minimum wage of only P8,736.00, equivalent to an inflation-adjusted P7,699.89.
It also said that deducting the P5,340.80 food threshold from the current take home pay of P7,647.20 per month implies an “estimated budget for a meal/person for a family of five is around P12.32.”
“Clearly, the amount cannot provide for the recommended nutritional requirements for a family of five, not by any stretch of the imagination,” it said.
The TUCP said the current P12.31 allocated for the daily food expenses of every family of five in the region is much lower than the P917.50/meal/family estimated by the Ateneo Policy Center using a state-designed food model.
“The current minimum daily wage of P365.00 can only accord workers and their families nutritionally deficient survival meals.”
TUCP last week refiled its petition for a P470 increase in the daily wage for Metro Manila, after the capital region’s wage board dismissed an earlier petition due to jurisdiction issues.
The TUCP on Sunday called the labor bureaucracy’s response to wage hike petitions “business as usual, time-consuming, (and) technically tedious.”
Soccsksargen, formerly known as Central Mindanao, covers South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani including General Santos City, Cotabato, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
The TUCP has already filed similar petitions in the Central Visayas and the Davao region. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza