Philippine Senate approves P100 daily wage hike bill

Under the bill, all employees in the private sector, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, are entitled to a P100-daily minimum wage increase.

Charie Abarca

Charie Abarca

Philippine Daily Inquirer


The Senate approved Senate Bill No. 2534, which calls for a P100 increase in the daily minimum wage of workers in the private sector, on the third and final reading on Monday, February 19, 2024. PHOTO: PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

February 20, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The landmark bill proposing a P100 increase in the daily minimum wage of workers in the private sector got a step closer to becoming a law as the Senate approved it on its third and final reading.

Senate Bill No. 2534 under Committee Report No. 190 received 20 affirmative votes during the chamber’s plenary session on Monday. The proposed law did not obtain any negative votes or abstentions as Sens. Imee Marcos, Lito Lapid, Cynthia Villar, and Mark Villar were not in the session hall during voting and were not able to cast their vote.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, co-sponsor of the bill, earlier noted that if the measure gets signed into law, it could be “the first time since 1989” that a legislated pay hike would be implemented nationwide.

Zubiri likewise emphasized the pressing need to increase the minimum wage of workers, particularly those in Visayas and Mindanao who are currently earning P360 a day.

“How can you live with P360 a day? It’s impossible. Once this bill is passed and becomes a law, this will provide a great relief to our poor and hardworking employees,” he earlier noted.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who sponsored the bill on the Senate floor, said the measure guarantees an increase in the daily pay of around 4.2 million minimum wage earners.

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Ripple effect

Estrada, in his manifestation after the measure was approved on final reading, told the public not to underestimate the effect of the upper chamber’s move.

He particularly noted that a higher minimum wage does not only impact the lives of those directly affected, but reverberates throughout our communities, stimulating local economies, and ensuring that people would have more money in their pockets to meet their basic needs.

“Definitely, some may argue that implementing such measures could impose hardships on businesses and impede economic growth. However, we should bear in mind that a flourishing economy relies on the vitality of its workforce, who are considered the lifeblood of enterprises,” said Estrada.

“At dapat nating pangalagaan at unahin ang interes ng ating mga manggagawa,” he added.

(And we must protect and prioritize the interests of our workers.)
‘26 years in the making’

For his part, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said it took 26 years before a measure like this was approved in Congress.

“Isa ito sa pinakaunang panukalang batas na inihain ko noong ako ay unang naging mambabatas noong taong 1998. This is actually 26 years old kung tama ang aking pagkakabilang. Dalawampu’t anim na taon ng inaantay ng mga manggagawa, ni minsan hindi pumasa sa magkabilang Kamara, ngayon lamang pumasa sa isang bahagi ng Kongreso sa Senado ang panukalang batas na ito,” said Escudero.

(This is one of the very first bills I filed when I first became a legislator in 1998. This is actually 26 years old if I counted correctly. Twenty-six years of waiting by the workers, never once did it pass both Houses, only now this bill passed a part of Congress in the Senate.)

Escudero said Filipino workers have long endured having meager salaries.

“Walang binabanggit na minimum wage na kataga sa ating Saligang Batas, ang nakasaad sa ating Saligang Batas ay living wage, hindi po minimum wage,” said Escudero.

(There is no mention of the term minimum wage in our Constitution, what is stated in our Constitution is living wage, not minimum wage.)

“Ang sinabi ay dapat magbigay ang Kongreso ng living wage hindi lamang simpleng minimum wage subalit ang naging depinisyon ng DOLE sa kada taon na lamang at dekada ng pumasok mula ng ipinasa ang Saligang Batas ay dalawa daw Pilipino sa kada Pamilya ang nagtatrabaho kaya ang minimum wage po natin ay katumbas ng kalahati lamang ng living wage talaga na kinakailangan sa kada rehiyon ng ating bansa,” he added.

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