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Bong Go co-authors across-the-board P150 daily wage hike bill to help uplift condition of ordinary workers

DAVAO CITY (PIA) -- Cognizant of the need to continue helping ordinary Filipinos still reeling from the adverse effects of COVID-19, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go co-authored on Monday, May 15, Senate Bill No. 2002, also known as the Across-the-Board Wage Increase Act of 2023, which seeks to implement a P150-increase in the daily wage of workers in the private sector.

With half of the population still describing themselves as poor despite the gradual reopening of the economy based on recent surveys, Go, a member of the Senate Committee on Labor, asserts that government should implement measures to cushion the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and high inflation.

“Totoo na dahan-dahan nang bumubukas ang ating ekonomiya at marami na rin ang nakakabalik sa kanilang mga trabaho at hanapbuhay.  Pero hirap pa rin ang mga ordinaryong Pilipinong itawid ang araw-araw na gastusin dahil sa inflation at mababang suweldo,” Go explained.

He stressed that the march towards full and inclusive economic recovery must be felt by ordinary Filipino workers amid their struggle with daily expenses by ensuring that their families do not have empty stomachs. 

“Unahin natin ang kapakanan ng mga mahihirap. Dapat walang magutom. Dapat maramdaman nila ang pagbangon ng ekonomiya tungo sa mas ligtas at komportableng buhay pagkatapos ng pandemya,” he noted. 

In the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Station last March 2023, 51% of the respondents rated themselves as poor---a number which remains unchanged since the December 2022 survey of the same firm. Some 30% of Filipinos rated themselves as “borderline” while only 19% consider themselves as not poor.

Of the 51% who considered themselves as poor, some 1.8 million families (6.5%) admitted that they were not poor one to four years ago, aptly called as “newly poor”.  Some 10 million families, representing 39% of those surveyed, also consider themselves as food-poor.

“Importante ang laman ng tyan ng ating mga kababayan, huwag natin hayaan na may magutom,” Go previously said.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri filed the said bill on March 14, explaining “The proposed wage hike will apply to the entire private sector, agricultural and non-agricultural, regardless of capitalization and number of employees.”

The leader of the Upper Chamber expects the measure to hurdle before Senate adjourns 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.

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. 

Meanwhile, Go filed last year 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.

He recently 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.

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. 

The International Monetary Fund, commenting on the 6.4% Gross Domestic Product of the country for the first quarter of the year, stressed 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. (PR-OSBG)

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