Wage board starts consultations in Kidapawan

But Ma. Gloria A. Tango, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment and concurrent chair of the regional wage board, said they have not received formal petitions yet from any groups in the area on how much shall the salary increase be.

Elena U. Haw, vice president for Mindanao of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the business sector has no common stand yet as to how. “But personally, I think a P10 daily wage hike is reasonable enough,” she added.

Haw, who is also chair of the Sultan Kudarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc., acknowledged the need to increase the rates of minimum wage earners in the region that comprises Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

But some business leaders, she said, prefer the implementation of the minimum wage rate instead of a salary adjustment because there are still many employers who are not yet implementing the minimum wage rate. The last wage adjustment was in October last year.

Haw said that the business chambers are currently conducting surveys among members
as to the wage rate adjustment issue, which will then be consolidated for their unified position.
Labor groups in the area have been calling for a legislated P125 across-the-board daily wage adjustment. But employers said this is too much and could lead to retrenchment of workers or the closing down of business establishments.

Tango said the figure will be determined after the public hearings, when members of the wage board deliberate on the issue. She promised that the board will come up with the salary rate adjustment sooner than the prescribed 30-day period after holding the last public hearing.

The region has been plagued with a very high inflation rate, hitting 10.8 percent in April, the first time it reached double digits. (MindaNews)