The NWPC posted the minimum wage rates approved by the 17 regional wage boards around the country in 2005. The figures in Southeastern Mindanao were P224 in cities and P222 in provinces for non-agriculture sectors and P180 for all sectors in the ARMM.
But the 2005 cost of living indicated by the “living wages” in the ARMM, pegged at P872 per day, was the most expensive, not only in Mindanao but also in the country.
The daily living wage in the National Capital Region for the same year was pegged at P690.
Southeastern Mindanao includes the three Davao provinces, Compostela Valley and the cities of Davao, Tagum, Panabo, Samal and Digos.
ARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Basilan and Marawi City.
In Southeastern Mindanao, agricultural workers in plantations received a daily wage of P212, in non-plantations P191, and P222 for workers in retail and service with more than 10 employees and P191 for those in enterprises with less than 10 workers.
Next to workers in Southeastern Mindanao are workers in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and the municipalities of Tagoloan, Villanueva, and Jasaan in Misamis Oriental, all in Northern Mindanao. There, workers in the non-agriculture sector received P218 and those in agriculture P208 per day.
In the rest of Northern Mindanao (the cities of Gingoog, Malaybalay and Valencia and the provinces of Bukidnon, Camiguin, and Lanao Norte) those in non-agriculture sectors received P211 and those in agriculture P201.
Next are those in the cities of Cotabato, General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, and Kidapawan, and the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, and Sarangani, in Southwestern Mindanao. The rates were P213.50 for non-agriculture sector, P200 for the agriculture sector, and P206 daily for retail and service sectors.
Occupying the fourth rank are workers in Caraga Region which covers the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur and the cities of Butuan and Surigao. Workers in non-agriculture sectors received P200, those in agriculture P190 (plantation), P170 (non-plantation), and those in the service sector received P200 (for those with more than 10 employees) and P170 (for those with less than 10 workers).
Just a little better than those in the ARMM were the workers in Region 9 which covers the cities of Zamboanga, Pagadian, Dapitan, Isabela and Dipolog and the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga-Sibugay.
Workers in the area received minimum daily wages of P200 for those in the non-agriculture sectors, P175 for plantation workers, P155 for non-plantation workers, and P180 for those in the retail and service sector.
The minimum wage rate in the ARMM was the same for all sectors and areas.
Excluding the rates of those working in the non-agriculture sector and in plantations, the ARMM's flat rate of P180 was only better than those of the provinces of Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan and the cities of Calapan and Puerto Princesa.
The highest increase in minimum wage rate in 2005 approved by the regional tripartite wage and productivity boards (RTWPBs) in Mindanao was in the Zamboanga peninsula with a P20 cost of living allowance (Cola) that raised the minimum wage rate from P196 to P216 effective June 26.
The RTWPB in ARMM gave the lowest increase in the minimum wage rate with an additional Cola of P10 per day. The wage board in Southwestern Mindanao gave between P6 and P13.50 COLA rates to workers in different sectors.
The regional wage board approved a P16 Cola in Northern Mindanao, P15 COLA in Southeastern Mindanao, and P11 increase in basic pay in the Caraga region with an earlier Cola of P12.
The highest increase approved in the country was in the National Capital Region at P25 for the basic pay. According to the NWPC, the computation for overtime fee, 13th month pay and holiday adjustments will be based on the basic pay.
The minimum wage rate, computed based on several factors such as the needs of workers using the consumer price index (CPI), purchasing power of the peso, inflation rate in the region, estimated real daily threshold, investment in the last two years, capacity of employers to pay, employment rate, and poverty rate, is the wage assumed to keep "body and soul" together, according to the office of the regional wage board in Southeastern Mindanao.
On the other hand, a more expanded computation of the wages called "living wages" or "ideal wage" computes the cost of living of workers that covers expenses not only for food and other basic needs, as in the minimum wage rate, but also non-food expenditures such as social, physiological and other needs as well as, expenses for education.
The region with the most expensive cost of living in 2005 was ARMM with P872 a day (No.1 in RP).
Zamboanga Peninsula’s daily cost of living in 2005 was P675 (No. 7), Northern Mindanao P577 (No. 10), Southeastern Mindanao P576 (No. 11) and Southwestern Mindanao P561 (No. 13). (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)