Filipino engineers join the call for wage increase, lowering prices

The rising cost of basic commodities, coupled with low wages, presents a deplorable situation in the Philippine labor force, and workers are not the only ones affected; even engineers and scientists, especially the entry-level, are experiencing the brunt of rising inflation and deepening economic situation.

JA Montalban, a spokesperson of PROPEL or Pro-People Engineers and Leaders, an organization promoting the welfare of engineers and the improvement of engineering in the country, said that the estimated salary of entry-level engineers in the Philippines ranges between ₱16,000 to ₱22,000. 

“In some areas, especially in regions outside NCR, salaries range from ₱10,000 to ₱15,000 for entry-level roles. Lessing expenses for basic needs such as housing, utilities, transportation, and required monthly contributions, engineers are left with almost nothing”, Montalban said. Furthermore, adding to the burden of engineers are workloads beyond their capacity and job description, long working hours, unsafe working conditions, and other aspects that are often uncompensated. 

Montalban added that it would be even more frustrating for engineering students to know that they would spend around ₱400,000 – ₱600,000 in mid-tier universities and around ₱800,000 – ₱1,000,000 or higher in prestigious universities in the Philippines in order to graduate just to have a monthly salary of ₱15,000. 

“The prevalent low salary of entry-level engineers is one of the reasons why our engineers prefer to work abroad rather than stay in the country and contribute their skills to national development”, he added.

Photo from PROPEL

In an online forum discussing the situation of engineering professionals in the Philippines, veteran labor leader and Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog, who comes from a family of engineers, said he couldn’t believe that “engineers are earning just about ₱10,000; not that much from what laborers are getting.”

He said that given the stagnant compensation of engineers, it would take about 15 to 20 years to see a return on investment in their education and related expenses. This, in turn, results in the exodus of professionals and brain drain in the country. 

In the same online forum, IBON Foundation Executive Director Sonny Africa mentioned the government’s policy of cheap labor and depressing worker salaries to be ‘competitive’ and attract foreign capital and investments. This affects not only minimum wage workers, but also directly influences engineers and professionals. 

No one is exempted from the economic crisis that we are facing today. It is time for engineers to voice their opinions and join the call to push the government for a substantial salary increase and to take concrete actions to lower commodities prices. Engineers should be one with the call of the labor force: Sahod Itaas, Presyo Ibaba.

Press Release

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