MANILA — Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero on Tuesday weighed on the proposed P150 across-the-board minimum wage hike for private sector workers.
While he is in favor of minimum wage increase, there should be a "safety net" for small businesses, he said.
Escudero added that the P150 wage hike could be "too heavy" for micro, small and medium enterprises in the provinces.
MSMEs represent 99 percent of enterprises in the country, the 2021 list of establishments of the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
"Corporations can shoulder this. It's the smaller businesses who might not be able to afford this. So, it's a question of providing a cushion for smaller businesses, MSMEs but for sure, big corporations can take care of this," Escudero told ANC's "Headstart".
"They have to remember [that] their business is comprised of both labor and capital. They keep on focusing on capital and bragging about the fact that they earned billions of pesos in the previous year so that their stock prices will go up but when you speak of labor, they don't have enough money to pay for it. So, this has to be balanced," he added.
Senate President Miguel Zubiri has filed a bill seeking to increase the daily wage of private sector employees by P150 or an increase of about P3,000 a month.
In the interview, Escudero also hit the regional wage board for providing measly salary increases.
"If the delegated power to certain agencies like the regional wage board aren't doing their job and for me, they're not, then congress has every power to take it back once or every so often and legislate wage increases," he said.
"But as I said, it cannot and should not be across the board... 'yung mga miyembro ng regional wage board parang sa ibang planeta nakatira dahil 'yung mga binibigay nilang increase na P5 kada buwan o kada araw eh saang palengke ba sila namamalengke? Saang grocery ba sila nanggo-grocery? Saang jeep o tricycle ba sila sumasakay na 'yung dinadagdag nila ay sapat na para bayaran 'yung gastusin ng ordinaryong manggagawa?" he added.