Press Release
May 10, 2011

Jinggoy says P22 COLA hike not enough;
seeks actual wage increase for workers

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada today said the P22 hike in the cost of living allowance (COLA) for minimum wage earners in Metro Manila approved by the NCR wage board is not enough, and stressed that deliberations on the proposed actual wage increase should continue.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has announced the approval of the COLA hike after deliberations by the wage board, saying that some two million minimum wage earners in Metro Manila would benefit from the increase, bringing the daily compensation of non-agricultural workers in the metro to P426 a day.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the new wage order will be published in at least one newspaper of general circulation and will become effective 15 days from its publication, and will cover all minimum wage earners in the private sector regardless of position, employment status, or salary scheme.

Baldoz clarified however that while the increase in their cost-of-living allowance will somehow help workers cope with rising costs, it is excluded from the computation of their wage-related benefits like overtime and 13th-month pay.

"I share the workers' sentiment that this COLA is very measly, especially in face of the unabated jacking up of prices of petroleum as well as food products and basic commodities," Estrada, concurrent chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and the joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment, said.

He added, "I believe that employers in the country could provide a much reasonably higher amount to their workers in additional pay. But more than that, what we should work for is actual increase in their wages, which would be included in the overall computations of their compensation."

Estrada further said the DoLE and the wage boards in the different regions in the country should continue deliberations on the calls for actual wage hikes, adding his committee is likewise doing its share in finding the real "win-win solution" in the issue of wage and benefits for the workers.

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