Labor groups eye wage hike petition following implementation of tax reform law

Joniel Monton

A Filipino farmer chops piles of sugarcane in a farm in Buluan Town, Maguindanao, Philippines, 30 April 2013. (Photo courtesy of Richie Tongo, PVI)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines —  Before the implementation of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law, a  P3,200  income tax was being deducted from the monthly salary of CJ Oliveros, an electrical engineer.

Although he is now exempted from paying this obligation under the law, Oliveros still appeals for wage hike due to impending increase in prices of fuel and commodities.

“Sana hindi lang kaming mga professional, pati ‘yung mga nasa baba. Lahat sana magkaroon ng increase this year kasi kung tataas talaga ‘yung mga presyo, sana lahat para masaya lahat,” he said.

(I hope that it’s not just professionals but also those on the ground. If prices will really go up this year, I hope everyone will have an increase so that everyone is happy.)

Labor group, Buklurang Manggagawang Pilipino said it will scrutinize first the effects of the law prior to submitting a wage hike petition.

“Tatamaan talaga ‘yung  mga manggagawa lalo na ‘yung mga minimum wage earner na wala silang pakinabang sa tax exemption ngayon dahil matagal na silang exempted. Matagal na silang exempted,” said Leody de Guzman, national president of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.

(Workers will be hit by this especially minimum wage earners since they will not benefit from tax exemption because they have always been exempted. They have long been exempted.)

The group continues to appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte for an additional P1,200 monthly income for minimum wage earners.

In the meantime, the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) will monitor the movement in prices of goods and commodities to find out if the said law will have a big effect on ordinary citizens.

ALU-TUCP spokesperson, Alan Tanjusay said, Kahit hindi pa June, pag nakita naming na nahihirapan na ‘yung ating mga kababayan dahil sa pagtaas ng commodities at mga services, of course, kahit wala pang one year, magpa-file kami ng wage increase petition.”

(Even if it’s not June yet—if we see that our fellowmen are having difficulties due to increase in prices of commodities and services—of course, even if it’s not yet one year, we will file a wage increase petition.)

However, the Employer’s Confederation of the Philippines or ECOP said it is still too early to discuss the wage increase.

“We’ll never see what kind of increases, how it affects consumer price index. I guess, we will not see anything until the end of this year. So, it’s really too premature,” ECOP president, Donald Dee. — Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue

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