THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) on Monday filed a fresh petition for an across-the-board wage increase for Metro Manila’s private sector workers amounting to P710, and said it was preparing a similar application for Central Visayas.

In its filing with the National Capital Region’s Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, the TUCP argued that the P537 upper end of the NCR’s P500-537 daily minimum wage, which resulted from a P25 increase that took effect on Nov. 22 last year, translates to a nominal take-home pay of P416.53 after government-mandated deductions and a real value of P354.80 when adjusted to inflation.

“That… existing minimum wage of P537 in the National Capital Region sorely meets [sic] basic needs for food, water, clothing, education, transport, health, housing and electricity,” the petition read.

Asked if the TUCP will be filing petitions in other regions, Associated Labor Unions (ALU) Vice-President for Education Eva B. Arcos replied: “Nagpa-plano kami (We are planning)to file a petition in Central Visayas.”

“It’s still in process [of preparation] but it will be close to this figure,” she told reporters on Monday after submitting the TUCP petition at the NCR wage board office in Malate, Manila.

TUCP Policy Officer Louisivi J. Oliva said the group’s petition — just five months after Metro Manila’s last wage hike and two days before Labor Day — is also based on the observation that minimum wage earners are exempt from paying income tax but have had to deal with higher prices of various goods due to the first of up to five planned tax reforms that took effect in January last year.

Last week, Kilos Na Manggagawa, Metal Workers’ Alliance of the Philippines and BPO Industry Employees Network filed for a P213 minimum wage hike in NCR. — Gillian M. Cortez