Labor day

I am surprised nobody among our congressmen is pointing out the glaring disparity in the minimum wage levels and fuel prices in Iloilo versus those in the national capital region. As pointed out by Bayan Muna party list Rep. Neri Colmenares recently, the minimum wage level in Iloilo is just P265 per day while workers in Metro Manila are mandated to receive P404 per day. And yet, on the other hand, Iloilo residents pay at least P5.00 per liter more on the price of fuel products than those in the national capital. That’s not to mention that our electricity rates are grossly more expensive than in Metro Manila.

If we go by the logic of compensation theory, workers who face a higher cost of living deserve to be paid more. The indices of cost of living should necessarily include gasoline prices and electricity rates. There can be no debate that these two costs weigh heavily on the economic conditions of a community. Hence, the question begs to be asked: why is the minimum wage in Iloilo lower than Manila?

And while that question is hanging in the air, let me also echo the question posed by Rep. Colmenares: why is the price of oil-based fuel considerably higher in Iloilo than the national capital? How do oil companies determine the P5.00 difference in prices? Transportation costs? If that is so, then a transparent procedure must be established to make it clear to everybody why it is so. We are not unreasonable people. But we have to be informed.

Our congressmen are expected to fight for our interests, economic, social or whatever. This is clearly a major battleground in terms of the economic plight of Ilonggos. There has to be a sense of balance to the way we do things. We should not just accept things as they are. We should learn to question and challenge, especially with the celebration of Labor Day yesterday.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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