Workers welcome House committee meeting on P125 Wage Hike Bill

NATIONAL labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno welcomed today the scheduling of a House Committee on Labor and Employment meeting for a bill that would legislate a P125 across-the-board wage hike nationwide, saying the bill deserves the committee’s immediate approval.

After the Subcommittee on Labor Standards approved House Bill 375, otherwise known as the P125 Wage Hike Bill, in its Luzon-wide consultation last Jan. 18, the COLE, under the leadership of Northern Samar Rep. Emil Ong, has scheduled a meeting on Feb. 6 to discuss the draft subcommittee report on the bill.

The meeting could lead to the committee’s approval and adoption of the subcommittee report, paving the way for the bill’s transfer to the House Rules Committee which can calender the bill for deliberation and voting at the House plenary.

“We are glad that the COLE has scheduled a meeting for the P125 Wage Hike Bill. This bill’s passage is long overdue,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“Workers need a significant wage hike now more than ever. Electricity and water rates, oil prices, and the prices of basic goods and services are all increasing,” he added.

“We are calling on all advocates of workers’ rights to speak up for the P125 Wage Hike Bill’s immediate passage. A P125 across-the-board wage hike will give workers immediate relief from the rising prices of basic goods and services,” he said.

Under new rules approved by the 15th Congress, bills that will be approved at the committee level need not be refiled in the next congress and need not start from scratch.

The second paragraph of Section 48, Rule X of the HOR 15th Congress states that “In case of bills or resolutions previously filed in the immediately preceding Congress which have been considered and reported out by a particular committeee, the same may be disposed of as matters already reported upon the approval of the majority of the members of the Committee present, there being a quorum.”

“If the COLE approves the P125 Wage Hike Bill on Wednesday, and we hope it does, workers will be more emboldened to call for the bill’s passage in the coming months,” Labog said.

“Congress can call for an emergency session even during the recess for electoral campaign and it will resume sessions in June. The cost of living is bound to increase in the coming months while the country’s regional wage boards will surely approve meager wage adjustments,” he added.

KMU cited independent think-tank Ibon Foundation’s April 2012 study which shows that the minimum wage in the National Capital Region, the highest in the country, has decreased in proportion to the cost of living, from 52 per cent in 2001 to 43 per cent in 2011.

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