Five days prior to Labor Day (Mayo Uno), various women and youth led by Gabriela Muntinlupa staged a lightning rally during the busy hours in Brgy. Poblacion in Muntinlupa on April 26. The groups demanded to uphold higher wages and protested against the Public Transport Modernization Program (formerly known as the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program) as the looming deadline for franchise consolidation approaches on April 30.

Gabriela Muntinlupa also conducted leafletting and explained to the residents of Brgy. Poblacion how the marginalized sectors continue to bear the brunt of the many unjust policies and misprioritization under the Marcos administration, while pointing out the imperative role of the working class as one of the backbones of Philippine economy.

“Kailangan nating lumaban,” said Nanay Beth who participated in the rally.

[We must fight back]

Measly wage increase

In a study led by economic think tank IBON Foundation this March 2024 revealed that the national average daily minimum wage in March is stood at P440 while the average family living wage is at P1,207. IBON emphasized that the current national minimum wage across 17 regions in the country is not enough to suffice the daily living cost of an average sized family. ​​

In the National Capital Region, the daily minimum wage is P610 since the implemented P40 wage hike last year. However, such an increase is only measly given a gradual inflation rate this year with 3.7 percent in March 2024.

IBON executive director Sonny Africa said that minimum wages are lower today than 35 years ago, in 1989, when the shift to regionalization from a national minimum wage began.

“Without meaningful wage hikes, reportedly increasing employment just means increasing poorly-paid work and working poor rather than real gainful employment,” Africa added, while emphasizing the need for large legislated wage hikes to give immediate relief. 

Last February, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri proposed Senate Bill (SB) No. 2534 to seek a P100 minimum wage hike for private-sector employees and workers across the country. The said bill was unanimously approved by the Senate but is yet to be enacted to become a law.

The Commission on Human Rights lauded these efforts following the harsh conditions and unequal socioeconomic opportunities to the Filipino workers. 

Wage Increase Now – NCR also laid out three major demands among workers.

  • Uphold a P200 across-the-board wage increase as immediate wage relief to meet the demand for a P750 national minimum wage.
  • Ensure a PHP 1,200 family living wage for every household by increasing the real value of wages.
  • Abolish the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board or RTWPB as an agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) deemed unnecessary as there are no basis for varying wages among regions when the cost of living and prices of goods are the same nationwide.

PTMP, a detriment to jeepney drivers

GABRIELA Muntinlupa emphasized that the PTMP is a threat to the livelihoods of traditional jeepney drivers that also have negative repercussions for their families and commuters at large.

On April 29, just before the extended deadline lapses, transport groups MANIBELA and PISTON are set to initiate a nationwide protest anew. 

Meanwhile, the women’s group commenced their program by encouraging the people to join the upcoming protests including the nationwide strike and Labor day.


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