MANILA, Philippines — Senators Raffy Tulfo and Joel Villanueva reiterated on Wednesday that no employee, including Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) graduates, should receive below minimum wage.
Tulfo and Villanueva pointed this out during the hearing of the Senate committee on finance on Tesda’s proposed 2024 budget.
In the said hearing, the lawmakers discovered that while eight out of 10 Tesda graduates are employed, most of them, except those who completed NC 3 and NC 4, earn lower than the average minimum wage.
“If this trend continue[s], we’re only allowing them to land jobs below minimum wage and there’s no way that we can help them to get out of poverty,” Villanueva said.
Tulfo, on the other hand, criticized Tesda for seemingly allowing the scheme to continue.
“Hindi dapat kayo pumapayag. Kahit na walang pinag-aralan ang isang tao o talagang kahit ‘di siya nakatungtong ng Grade 1, hindi po dapat siya tumatanggap ng below minimum. ‘Yun ang nasa batas natin,” Tulfo said.
(You should not let this happen. Even if a person did not have access to education or never reached Grade 1, he should not receive below minimum. That is in our law.)
“Especially if he studied at Tesda. [He] is supported by our government, budgeted by the government for months or even years. Then he’s only earning below minimum wage? Heck no. You must swear in anger,” he added in Filipino.
According to Tulfo, the fact that these instances were already monitored by Tesda shows that they might be condoning it.
To counter this, Tesda Director General Secretary Suharto Mangudadatu stressed that they are “insisting” and “pushing” for the provision of minimum and above minimum wage for all employees.
“[TechVoc graduates] are workforce ready. They are very competitive, so we are insisting that the acceptance of our industry is that the below minimum is really not allowed, so we’re pushing for minimum and above,” said Mangudadatu.
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