Despite hike, NCR wage worth only P242: Workers get smallest increase in real wages under Arroyo Gov’t

The Arroyo administration has the longest-running term since Marcos but has seen the smallest increase in workers’ real wages over the last nine-and-a-half years

The recently announced P22-wage hike in the NCR brings the real or inflation-adjusted minimum wage to only P242 based on 2000 prices, according to research group IBON.

This estimate assumes an inflation rate of 4.4% in the first six months of the year. The regional wage board adjusted the NCR non-agricultural minimum wage from P382 to P404 effective this month.

According to IBON, the Arroyo administration has the longest-running term since Marcos but has seen the smallest increase in workers’ real wages over the last nine-and-a-half years. The real wage in February 2001 or the start of the Arroyo presidency was pegged at P237, which implies an increase of just P5 over her term. The nominal wage in February 2001 was P250.

This trivial wage increase compares very unfavorably with corresponding increases of P82 during the Aquino administration, P16 over the Ramos administration, and P22 over the Estrada administration.

The real wage increased during the Aquino administration from P121 in February 1986 to P203 in June 1992, during the Ramos administration from P201 in July 1992 to P217 in June 1998, and during the Estrada administration from P216 in July 1998 to P238 in January 2001. These are all inflation-adjusted figures based on 2000 prices.

The supposed momentum of 36 straight quarters of economic growth has been accompanied by an unprecedented flattening, over nearly a decade, of real wages. The outgoing Arroyo administration has the triple distinction of presiding over the fastest economic growth, highest unemployment and lowest wage increase over its term since the Marcos dictatorship. (end)

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