Bicol records lowest ‘real’ minimum wages – research

By Mavic Conde


The Businessworld, one of the country’s business news publications, has released an infographic that compares minimum wages across provinces. It also reveals the real minimum wages as of March, and the Bicol region has the lowest among Philippine provinces with P264.05 pesos.


The real minimum wage, according to the research-based infographic, “refers to basic pay and cost of living allowance per day.” These are inflation-adjusted, so when the general prices of goods increase, the value of daily minimum wages diminish. Hence, the lower real wages in March by 8.3 percent to 14.3 percent than respective salaries.


The minimum wage in the Bicol region is P310 pesos, while its inflation rate in March is 3.8 percent. Provinces with higher minimum wages buffered the higher inflation rates. For instance, in Cordillera Region, the real wages are down to P310 pesos compared to the minimum wage of P350 pesos. Its inflation rate is 5.1 percent.


The minimum wages vary per region, depending on costs of living and employers’ capacity. The infographic shows that the Bicol region has also the lowest minimum wage.


Carrin Bisa-Candaza, who is a minimum wage earner, told Bicol Mail that the current rate is not enough. “It’s not enough, especially for me whose house is far from my workplace and the fares have increased [during the pandemic] alongside the prices of goods,” she said.


During this campaign period, presidential candidate Leody de Guzman and senatorial candidates Luke Espiritu and Teddy Baguilat are proposing to increase the minimum wage to P750 across the country. Likewise, presidential aspirants Leni Robredo and Manny Pacquiao want this gap in prices of goods and salary addressed by strengthening the economy and salary standardization respectively.


Carrin said this will be a big help not only for household expenses but also to have savings. She also said that provincial rates are kind of discriminatory since the job requirements are the same regardless of location. Without a provincial rate, many will also choose to stay and not be working far from their families, she added.