No petition for wage hike in Region12

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/13 June) — Not a single labor group in Region 12 has filed a petition for salary increase almost a year after the prescriptive period for filing lapsed.

Ma. Gloria A. Tango, director of the Department of Labor and Employment in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindana, said they are still awaiting petitions to increase the minimum salary wage in the region.

“As of Friday, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in the region has not received any petition for a wage increase,” she said,

Southwestern Mindanao region comprises the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Last April, Tango said they gathered government line agencies such as the National Economic Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry and Commission on Higher Education, among others, to present an economic situationer to determine if there is a need to increase salaries of minimum wage earners in the private sector.

Based on that meeting, the official noted that “there are no abnormalities” in the area’s economic situation that would warrant a salary adjustment.

In June last year, the prescriptive one-year period to file a wage increase lapsed, with the wage order in effect still dated June 16, 2008.

Based on the order, minimum wage rate for workers in the non-agriculture sector stands at P245 per day and in the agriculture sector, P225 for plantation and P220 for non-plantation workers.

Joel M. Gonzales, regional assistant Labor said there’s no deadline for filing a salary adjustment petition after the one-year period lapses, with the wage board willing to wait for any petitioner.

The business sector expressed hope that no labor group would file a petition before the regional wage board.

Allan D. Yaphockun, regional governor for southwestern Mindanao of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said they favor a status quo because of “unfavorable business situation like the power crisis and the impact of El Nino.”

The El Nino, which has been declared officially over, was blamed for the power crisis that let to power outages of up to 12 hours daily in some parts of Mindanao.

More than half of the power supply in Mindanao is generated by hydropower plants.

The onset of the rainy has eased the power outages from one to two hours daily in this city, the seat of the regional government.

Despite the outages, power rates have gone up by nearly two pesos per kilo watt hour in the region, triggering complaints from consumers. (MindaNews)