Equal minimum wage for all?

Bhernadette A. Pascual, CPA

UNDENIABLY, every ordinary Filipino is in a plight. Nowadays, the prices of goods are soaring high and the cost of living is getting higher, while our income stays the same. Most Filipino people are barely living, struggling to make ends meet. To safeguard and assist the ordinary Filipino people, the labor code of the Philippines lays down rules on employment practices and conditions of employment that should be complied with by the employers.

Today, the minimum wage set by the government is P537 in Metro Manila and it varies depending on the region. Many argue that this is not enough to raise a family. Unfortunately, there are some people who are getting paid below the minimum wage and are forced to accept it because they fear that if they lose their job, they will have no other means. These days, obtaining a job proves to be more difficult for many ordinary Filipino people. With Metro Manila boasting as the center of commerce in the country, many people from other regions attracted by the abundance of job opportunities and higher wages, they try to find their living in Metro Manila; some found good jobs, some found otherwise.

It brought questions to my mind, what if the minimum wage is the same for all of the regions? What are the implications of setting the minimum wage as such? Will it be advantageous to ordinary Filipino people or not?

It sounds beneficial that minimum wage would be equal and people from other regions would have the same income as they would earn in Metro Manila without having to leave their families in their provinces. With the crowded population reduced, maybe this could alleviate the traffic problem in Metro Manila, albeit a little. Raising the minimum wage in other regions may stimulate the growth of provinces due to expanding opportunities for businesses and employees alike.

However, increasing the wages in other regions may also be disadvantageous for employees because it may result in businesses not being able to keep up with increasing salaries paid to their employees and may probably result in employees receiving salaries below the minimum wage. As such, there may be a decrease in work available and even increase in prices of goods or services.

For now, we can only speculate the effect of employing equal minimum wage for all of the Philippine regions whether it may be beneficial or not to ordinary people Filipino people. Be that as it may, let us be wise in our financial decisions while hoping for the best.

Carpe diem!