MANILA - Sen. Jinggoy Estrada ruled out Friday the possibility of passing a law that would grant a P150 daily wage hike to minimum wage earners by Labor Day.
Estrada, chairman of the Senate labor and employment committee, said the bill filed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri needs to undergo a thorough public consultation.
"It's been only a year since the opening of the country's economy following the two-year extensive COVID-19 restriction... We're still struggling trying to return to the pre-pandemic levels," Estrada said.
He added: "More than the issue of wage increase is the issue of job security."
Asked if Zubiri's bill can be passed into law in time for Labor Day on May 1, Estrada said: "Ah hindi. Impossible. That's quite impossible."
Zubiri earlier said a P150 increase in the daily wage of private sector employees would cushion the impact of rising inflation. Inflation eased slightly to 8.6 percent in February from a 14-year high of 8.7 percent in the previous month.
Estrada said consultations on the issue of wage hikes should not only be focused on the workers' concern but also on the employers' capacity and situation. He said the situation calls for a "balance" on the needs of workers and survival of employers.
The senator agreed that it is also necessary to increase the salary of minimum wage earners today considering the significant impact of inflation.
He said he will seek a wage increase the moment the Regional Wage Boards (RWB) ignore the workers' plea for pay adjustment.