Allen Dominic Sacristan  

Labor groups have expressed dissatisfaction with the recently approved P35 daily wage increase for Metro Manila workers, calling it insulting and insufficient amid the rising living costs.

Photos Courtesy of The STAR/Andy G. Zapata Jr./JV Sangalang/HIYAW.

On July 1, the National Capital Region’s Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board approved the P35 hike, raising the minimum wage for non-agricultural sectors from P610 to P645.

The increase also applies to the agricultural and other sectors with a smaller workforce, bringing their minimum wage to P608 from P573.

While the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) estimated that around 988,243 will benefit, critics argue the raise fails to address the significant gap between income and the actual cost of living in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Currently, NCR boasts the highest minimum wage rate nationwide, yet it only fulfills 51% of the estimated family living wage of P1,200, which means that families are not earning enough to keep up with the high prices of various necessities. 

The disparity is even worse in regions outside of Metro Manila, with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) experiencing the largest gap, having the minimum wage fall 82.4% short of the living wage.


Various groups have condemned the recent hike as insufficient and insulting to Filipinos.

Jerome Adonis, Secretary General of Kilusang Mayo Uno, lamented the ineffectiveness of the increase in a statement. 

“35 na taon kaming inihulog sa kumunoy ng Wage Rationalization. Sa 35 na taong ito, binundat ng lakas paggawa namin ang mga kapitalista. 35 na taon na pinalamon ng buwis namin ang mga opisyal ng gobyerno. P35 sa 35 taon? Dinadala nyo kami sa hukay habang pasasa kayo sa buhay!” Adonis said.

Gabriela Women’s Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas echoed similar sentiments, calling the recent hike “an insult” to Filipino workers.   

“This P35 increase is an insult to Filipino workers. It’s barely different from the P25 wage hike implemented way back in 1989, and lower than the P40 hike granted last year,” she said 

“How can the government expect NCR workers to survive on P645 a day when the Family Living Wage stands at P1,200 and prices continue to accelerate?” she added. 

Labor Group Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa described the wage increase as “nothing short of a heartless disregard for the economic crises faced by our workers and families.”

“Our minimum wages do not amount to liveable wages. We have presented our arguments based on factual and credible research. And yet our efforts amount to a low increase,” SENTRO said.