R-12 wage board grants pay hike for workers in private sector

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/04 October) — Minimum wage earners in Southwestern Mindanao or Region XII have been granted a P15 increase in their cost of living allowance, labor officials in the region today confirmed.

The increase, which came after more than two years, will be implemented upon the effectivity of Wage Order No. RBXII-16 issued last week by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, Ma. Gloria A. Tango of the Department of Labor and Employment regional office said.

“The 15 daily COLA under the new Wage Order will be implemented in two tranches: P10 will be implemented upon the effectivity of the new Wage Order; and the P5 will be implemented effective April 1, 2011,” Tang said in a statement.

The new wage order will take effect 15 days from its publication in a local newspaper of general circulation, she added.

Joel M. Gonzales, wage board secretary and DOLE assistant regional director, noted that under the new wage order, previous COLAs granted under Wage Order Nos. RBXII – 13, RBXII-14, RBXII-15 were all integrated into the basic wage.

Thus, with the additional P15 daily COLA, the new minimum wage rates will increase to P260 for workers in the non-agriculture, P240 for plantation workers, P235 for non-plantation workers, P240 for retail/service establishments employing more than 10 workers, and P234
for retail/service establishments employing less than 10 workers.

The new wage hike will cover all minimum wage earners in the private sector in Region XII regardless of their position, designation or status of employment, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid, Gonzales said.

As in previous wage orders, exemptions may be granted to certain type of establishments such as distressed establishments and those establishments whose total assets are not more than P3 million, he added.

Prior to the issuance of the new wage order, the RTWPB conducted, moto propio, a series of public consultations in General Santos City and Kidapawan City on September 2, and 3, 2010, respectively.

The last wage adjustment in the region was granted in June 2008 providing wage adjustments in the basic wage ranging from P7.00 to P10.50 and a COLA ranging from P3.00 to P5.00 bringing up the minimum wage rates to between P219 and P245 daily.

The business sector immediately nixed the looming wage adjustment in the four- province, five-city region.

Allan D. Yaphockun, regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Southwestern Mindanao, said they would have preferred for a status quo as the new rate would be an additional burden to employers.

Nevertheless, Yaphockun said they could do nothing “but comply with the order.”

He urged the labor department to closely monitor the proper implementation of the new rate adjustment, especially among big business establishments.

Ryan Lariba, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Socsksargen chief, slammed the wage adjustment, saying it is too small for the needs of the workers.

He noted that in the region, the cost of living is now pegged at P698 for an average family.

Lariba said a legislated P125 nationwide across-the-board daily wage increase would have been better than regionalized adjustments. (MindaNews)