Leody De Guzman welcomes DOLE wage review, bats for P750 minimum wage

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2022 05:10 PM

Halalan 2022 Presidential hopeful Leody de Guzman during his proclamation rally at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City on Feb 8, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.
Halalan 2022 Presidential hopeful Leody de Guzman during his proclamation rally at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City on Feb 8, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA — Presidential candidate Leody de Guzman on Thursday welcomed the Labor Department’s announcement that it will review the minimum wage for workers amid rising fuel prices after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

De Guzman, who was a guest at the Pandesal Forum, reiterated one of the key components of his pro-labor platform — increasing the minimum wage to P750 in all regions across the country.

“Welcome na development na yung ating Department of Labor ay nag-isip na dagdagan ang sahod ng mga manggagawa,” he said. 

“Salamat kay Sec. [Silvestre Bello III], pero sana huwag naman P10, wag naman lollipop ang ibibigay sa manggagawa parang batang umiiyak lang, huwag naman ganoon,” he said.

(It’s a welcome development that the Department of Labor is thinking of increasing the wages of workers. Thank you, Secretary [Silvestre Bello III] but hopefully, it’s not a P10-increase. Don’t give workers lollipop as if they were crying children.)

De Guzman added that workers can only ask for a wage increase once a year even if prices increase throughout the year. 

The daily minimum wage rate in the National Capital Region is pegged at P537, with much lower rates in the provinces.

De Guzman said there’s no reason why workers outside Metro Manila have to earn less when the expenses and cost of living are almost the same.

No less than the labor chief Bello III earlier said the P537 minimum wage in NCR may no longer be enough to keep up with the rising cost of food, electricity, and water bills.

Meralco announced on Thursday it will increase electricity rates by P0.063 kilowatt per hour in next month’s billing.

For De Guzman, the P750 minimum wage he is pushing for is even less than what workers supposedly need to cope with inflation.

“'Yung hinihingi naming yon, huwag matakot ang mga negosyante, kasi yan ang dapat talaga, nasa P1,500 ata yung dapat tanggapin ng mga manggagawa dahil sa taas ng presyo ng bilihin, yung serbisyo, napakamahal. Nasa ganoong pagtataya, yung secretary ng NEDA dati. Pero P750 malaking tulong na yun para sa mga manggagawa,” he said.

(Businessmen should not be afraid because what we’re asking is even lower than the P1,500 needed by every worker to keep up with increasing prices of goods and services. That’s what the former NEDA secretary previously estimated. But P750 is already a big help for the workers.)

De Guzman also assured entrepreneurs that whatever wage increase they will implement can still benefit them in the long run because workers will be encouraged to buy more and spend their earnings.

“Wag mag-alala yung mga negosyante dahil paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, hindi naman namin itatago yan sa baul, yung pera. Ibibili namin ng produkto ng mga negosyante yan,” he explained.

(Business owners need not worry because as I often say, the additional money they’re paying won’t be hidden in their trunks but will be used to buy goods sold by businessmen.)

De Guzman also reiterated his call to regulate the oil industry.

“Parang ang bawasan natin ay yung kita ng big business. Kasi sinasamantala nila minsan eh. Na minsan may mga nakastock pa na langis, na nabili nila sa mura, ngayon ibebenta sa presyong itinakda ng gobyerno,” the labor leader said.

(Let’s lessen the profits of big businesses. Sometimes they exploit the situation. Even if they still have stocks of fuel which they bought at a cheaper price, now they’re selling it at prices set by the government.)

He said the industry should be regulated so that the government can have a say and ensure that only the right amount of profit is imposed by oil companies.

De Guzman urged the government to stock up on fuel and grant affected drivers fuel subsidy.

The Department of Budget and Management said on Wednesday that the P2.5-billion fuel subsidy for public utility vehicle drivers might be released as early as this weekend.

Gabriela Party-List Rep. Arlene Brosas, for her part welcomed the DOLE's announcement.

“It’s about time. Actually ang kailangan hindi review eh. Kailangan aksyunan na talaga. Kasi ang hirap ng kalagayan ngayon eh,” she said.

(It’s about time. Actually, what we need is not review. We need to act now because the situation of the people now is really difficult.)

“Nasa krisis talaga yung mga kababayan natin kasi nga, ripple effect eh. Tataas ang presyo ng lahat pag tumaas ang presyo ng langis. So ganoon po yung effect sa atin,” she added.

(We’re in the middle of a crisis and there’s a ripple effect. The prices of all goods and services will go up once fuel prices rise. That’s the effect on us.)

“Di po namin kailangan ng dada, kailangan po namin ng gawa ngayon. Kailangan nating umaksyon.”

(We don’t need words, we need actions. We need to act now.)


Watch more News on iWantTFC