Should we junk the minimum wage law in the Philippines?

Workers unite! But then ask the question: Unite to do what exactly? That slogan has been around for more than two centuries now, and though many “activist” elements out there might want us to believe that their “fight” was what put iPhones in our hands, WiFI signals in our living rooms, and Hong Kong vacations on our calendars that we now feel we are entitled to, perhaps it is time to revisit the real mechanism at work that determines the real value of labour.

minimum_wage_lawWhat determines the value of compensation one can demand for an amount of work one delivers to one’s employer?

The thinking that went into answering the above simple question, it seems, has for so long been delegated to the obsolete rhetoric of our Leftist comrades. It has resulted in a legislative construct that we now take for granted — the concept of “minimum wage”. In essence the laws that draw on this quaint concept uphold the “social justice” in a dollar or peso figure we arbitrary place on what we think the value of labour should be.

Will lives of ordinary folk sustainably improve on the basis of what a bunch of armchair economists think a worker’s worth should be?

History has shown that this is not the case. Indeed, Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III himself thought that Filipino lives should have improved by now, three years into his “presidency”. He so believed in it that he went out of his way to undermine people like Arsenio Balisacan who happened to be in the unfortunate position of having to tell The Anointed One that what one thinks should be so is not necessarily consistent with what is real — that all the much-trumpeted “economic growth” the Philippines is supposedly raking in is not changing the wretched lives of the majority of Filipinos.

It’s quite simple: You cannot manage economic realities by edict. In much the same way you cannot legislate good manners, you certainly cannot legislate an egalitarian society. The notion of “minimum wage”, if we step back far enough from the noise of commie rhetoric is, in essence, a flawed and dead-end deal.

Indeed, we can take some interesting lessons from English history where at one time English labour was so valuable following the decimation of her majesty’s population by the plague, that her feudal administrators at the time actually had to implement a maximum wage law to curb skyrocketing labour costs…

Yet the pestilence had slow but permanent effects on English society. The shortage of labour [as a result of the population decline] had the immediate result of increasing both the level of wages and the chances of employment. The phenomenon of the landless or impoverished peasant wholly disappeared. But the rising demands of the working people who had survived, their worth now doubled by the epidemic, provoked a reaction from the landowners and magnates. The knights of the shires, in particular, perceived a threat to good order.

An Ordinance of Labourers was passed by a parliament in 1349, forbidding employers to pay more for labour than they had before the pestilence. The same Act deemed that it was illegal for an unemployed man to refuse work. The measures were not realistic. Many workers and their families could simply move to another district and to a more generous employer who was willing to ignore the law. Some migrated to towns, for example, where there was great demand for manual labourers such as masons and carpenters. A ploughman might become a tiler. More than enough work was available.


Many younger people now possessed their own holdings of land. And the best land did not remain vacant for long. There had once been too many farmers and labourers working too little soil, but now they were dispersed over the countryside.

[NB: Above is an excerpt from the book The History of England – Foundation by Peter Ackroyd.]

The lesson here is simple, really. You just need to understand the law of supply and demand. Filipino workers will always be “victims” because, again quite simply, there are just too many of them from which employers can choose from. As I had earlier tweeted: The reason Pinoy workers are abused is because there is an enormous supply waiting to take any job vacated by “victims”.

We already know the solution to the Philippines’ supply debacle: population control. Ironically, it is commies like Risa Hontiveros who championed “advocacies” to address that little issue. The other side of the equation is demand. Perhaps the SIMPLE reason there is no domestic demand for Pinoy workers is because what we think their blood and sweat is worth within our own islands does not line up with what the market thinks it is actually worth.


Post Author: benign0

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46 Comments on "Should we junk the minimum wage law in the Philippines?"

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Pepe Alas

“We already know the solution to the Philippines’ supply debacle: population control.”

With this statement, you just made it sound that humans are mere commodities. Surplus and scarcity. Wow.


Job opportunities

18,000 criminals – appointments may 13
Child laborers – 3.3 million ( current)
Sex workers (domestic) – 1 million (current)
Sex workers abroad – 2.5 million (current)
Hustlers – unlimited


Since when does minimum wage actually matters. When a country struggles with unemployment, underemployment and OFW dependence, it just don’t seem that big of a deal now.

You don’t “fix” a sickness by treating the symptom. This is just another excuse of our government to say that they are doing “something” to make themselves look good.

Dan The MAN

No, but the wage laws are virtually un-enforceable.

Johnny Saint

What do you guys think about this: Instead of a minimum wage across the board, a collective bargaining agreement to establish a basic income depending on the industry or profession one works in. The “minimum wage” concept by nature pigeonholes everyone into the same category regardless of training, experience and skill level. That has always seemed to me to be inequitable and unfair. The collective bargaining model would make worker compensation more commensurate to the capabilities of the individual.


I think the wage workers should find other means to earn, or start a business. Ideally, the workers should earn at least on minimum wage to meet their basic necessities, but in reality employers will either (1) limit the number of employees, (2) lay off some people, (3) move to other country where workers are paid less, (4) influence politicians to favor them.

This is a eternal struggle where workers in most cases lose.


[…] Should we junk the minimum wage law in the Philippines? | Get Real Post. By benign0, May 2. […]

Miauw Ming

After abolishing Minimum wage, what’s next? Slavery? Allowing Child Labor? Minimum wage did not start in any communist country.

In fact most of the capitalistic countries have Minimum wage. Why whine on minimum wage when it is already small in the Philippines and it’s not even the issue.

What is demand (in supply/demand) when only the few rich can afford it.


Instead of increasing or removing minimum wage, wouldn’t it be more proper to lower the cost of living? For example by lowering the cost of electricity for everyone by removing/remaking EPIRA, it would benefit the majority.

Hyden Toro
“Worker unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains.”From the Communist Manifesto. Unfortunately, nations that turned communist; their peoples’ chains were replaced by: Gulags, Slave Labor concentration camps, murderous dictators like Stalin and Pol Pot. Family dynasties like the Castros of Cuba, and the Kim Jung On of North Korea. Communism is an obsolete ideoleogy. It did not work. Leaders in the Politburo, lived like nobles. While the rest of their people are supplied with meager rations. Our nation is governed by Feudal Monopolistic Oligarchy. It is like communism also. Family dynasty is there. OFW slave workers are there.… Read more »
Minimum wage should be a safety net, not a prescription for exploitation. Good companies want to attract and retain the best but the sad fact is that the economy in the philippines does not promote competitiveness and innovation, and just as important the culture does not respect the individual but sees workers as a disposable commodity not to invest in but simply replace periodically, so the result is a drive to the bottom – i.e cost driven, short term, low quality where the need for good management is replaced by an autocratic style. Inevitably this promotes an us/them scenario but… Read more »

maybe the benchmark figures are
what % is minimum wage of average salaries
what % of working population/employees are on minimum wage.
cant find figures for phlippines.
not best comparison but in uk 10% of workers on minimum wage – mainly london – retail/ restaurants/service ( tips can make a big difference there)

If I am a foreign company, I will definitely not invest in the Philippines and if I will do so, I will make sure that I’ll be capital intensive as much as possible! The labor cost here is so high that the real wage of an ordinary Filipino should have been P200. And I think, this will even apply to domestic companies. Seriously, what is the worth of having high minimum wage when the employment opportunities are scared away. So what do really the people want? Greed for the few, or employment for everyone. Don’t say that this is the… Read more »

i say JUNK IT!! Why…. coz a lot of the so called inveators and businessmen are giving the so called minimum wage to their workers. Everybody knows that. In a country where the businessmen and capitalist rules…. Must we still expect? Toughluck.

christian jay macabeo
christian jay macabeo

shoud you go for the establishment of minimum wages or not .. pls justify