Manila, Philippines – Today is workers’ day!
It is undeniable that, given the current condition of Philippine labor force, Filipino workers want an announcement about substantial wage increase to mark today’s celebration.
Will such announcement be made today either by President Aquino or the heads of the Regional Wage Boards?
Without such announcement, the center of Labor Day celebration in our country today is the holding of Job and Livelihood Fairs in 57 venues throughout the country. Such fairs are important especially for those who recently earned their college degrees and the same positively lend to the spirit of Labor Day celebration.
In addition to providing job and livelihood opportunities, we hope that the government announces also concrete measures for a better quality of life for Filipino workers.
Why do most of Filipino workers have to rely on government-mandated salary increases? Why do Filipino employers always oppose salary increases, which the workers believe are what they need for them and their families to live decent life?
These questions point a development area for the government to work on—improving the competence and increasing competitiveness of Filipino workers. With more competent and competitive workforce, productivity will increase and employers will have to accordingly compensate workers with higher salaries. Given the same, the government will no longer have to “force” the increases in salaries and wages.
Improving competence and increase competitiveness of Filipino workers can be pursued following the “public-private partnership.” One option is for private business organizations to shoulder the cost of training for workers and the government providing them some forms of tax incentives for doing so. The government can also subsidize training costs or provide the training programs at no cost to the workers.
There are a lot of ways on how the value of Filipino workers can be enhanced so that they do not need to “beg” for salary increases. In the long run, such will benefit not only the workers but the whole country as well because higher productivity will certainly lead to better economic performance.
We hope that in the future, Labor Day celebration in our country will no longer be about workers demanding salaries and wages that they feel they deserve.
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