Madrigal prefers lower cost of living instead of wage hike

April 29, 2013 11:42 pm 

LUCBAN, Quezon, April 29 – Team PNoy senatorial candidate Jamby Madrigal on Monday said the government should focus on how to lower the cost of living in the country instead of giving to the demand of the labor sectors asking for wage increase.

”Wage hike is important to improve the lives of the Filipinos but it is more important to lower the cost of living so that profit between cost of living and wage hike will increase,” Madrigal said in media interview after the campaign sortie here.

Madrigal said the cost of living in other countries like Thailand, Indonesia and India is much lower compared to the Philippines due to lower prices of basic commodities, lower electricity and water in these countries.

”In my opinion, there are three problems in the Philippines: very high cost of electricity, food and water,” Madrigal said.

Former partylist congresswoman and Team PNoy senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros said the next Congress should try to legislate wage hike but “increasing non-wage benefits is also very helpful.”

Hontiveros said the security of tenure of every worker is not a very hot issue but “I would still give it a try specially on the issue of climate contractualization.”

In a separate interview, reelectionist Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III said he would push for decent wages if elected in the May 13 midterm polls.

”My commitment for labor sectors is I will continue to press for decent wages for all workers. Now that question is what is that decent? I’m willing to go into number crunching to determine what is a decent wage on a per region, per city basis if necessary,” Pimentel said.

Former senator Ramon ‘Jun’ Magsaysay Jr. said the government should focus first on job creation to address the almost four million jobless Filipinos.

”Of course we need to increase wages but it would be good if there are enough jobs because we have a lot jobless countrymen,” Magsaysay said.

”So number one, more jobs, more businesses and that’s what our President (Benigno Aquino III) is doing. There should be more capital coming in,” Magsaysay added.

Meanwhile, Team PNoy senatorial bet Grace Poe said the last week’s statement of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz that there will be no wage hike on Labor Day could spark a hoard of problems in the labor sector.

Poe pointed out also that the hardline stand taken by business owners against the issue of wage increase is likely to cause them bigger losses if workers go on strike to paralyze operations.

“Truth to tell, I do not see companies shutting down left and right if their employees are given a reasonable wage increase,” Poe said in a press statement.

On the other hand, Poe said leaving “our workers with no choice but to stage protests would be the worst possible recourse since it will affect our growing economy.”

”And this would mean a double whammy for us: Production systems will be halted and wage earners and their families will go hungry,” she added.

Poe also said that the soaring costs of basic commodities which drastically affected the capacity of workers to support their personal and household needs should be addressed by the government.

“Do you think the P456 minimum daily wage of a head of the family could be able to feed a regular-sized family? Honestly, this can’t afford three square meals. If this won’t be enough for food, what is more his house rent? Electricity and water bills? School fees? This is not just an issue of economics but a humanitarian issue as well.” Poe stressed. (PNA)

FPV/JFM

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