Region 12 wage board initiates hearings on pay raise

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 Aug) – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) of Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao will launch a two-day public consultation early next month to determine the possibility of implementing another adjustment in the daily minimum wages of private workers in the region.

Joel Gonzales, RTPB 12 secretary, said they will meet with representatives and leaders of local labor groups, business and industry sectors, consumer groups and officials of government and non-government agencies to specifically discuss whether there is need to implement a new wage order for the region.

“Until now we have not received any petition for a wage increase from any of the organized labor groups in the region but the board is exercising its mandate to act motu propio on the matter,” he said.

Gonzales said they have scheduled the regional consultations here on September 1 and in Kidapawan City on September 2.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“The results of the consultations will serve as basis whether there’s a need for the wage board to come up with a new wage order or not,” Gonzales said.

Lawyer Ma. Gloria Tango, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Region 12 director, said the wage board earlier decided to hold the regional consultations to get the sentiments of various sectors regarding the wage hike.

She said RTWPB members started to assess last month the current socio-economic condition of the region and their impact on the area’s minimum wage earners.

Tango, who chairs the wage board, said they will validate during the scheduled consultations their findings on the region’s economic situation, specifically the price adjustments in some basic commodities, fuel price movements, tuition and fare adjustments and other related concerns.

Last April, the wage board initially launched region-wide consultations regarding the matter but eventually decided on a status quo.

Private workers in Region 12 have not received any wage adjustment since June 2008.

The current 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.

The regional wage boards of Caraga, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Southern and Northern Mindanao already approved increases ranging from P10 to P21 in the minimum daily wages of private workers in their areas. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)