Southwestern Mindanao wage board yet to decide whether supervening condition exists

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/18 April) — The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Southwestern Mindanao has started monitoring the prices of basic consumer commodities to determine whether a supervening condition exists in the area, a top official said on Monday.

A declaration of supervening condition would pave the way for possible salary adjustments in the private sector even though the one-year prescriptive period to review the existing wage order has not lapsed.

Ma. Gloria Tango, Department of Labor and Employment regional chief, said they already received instruction from the DoLE central office to monitor the movement in the prices of fuel and basic consumer products such as food.

On April 27, a meeting is slated with the other regional government offices and the private sector if the situation warrants a declaration of supervening condition, she said.

Among those invited to the meeting were the regional offices of the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Energy.

Tango conceded that prices of fuel have gone up in the area and that they are still monitoring if prices of basic consumer goods have followed the same trend.

“The wage board as a collegial body will decide if just one factor, which is fuel price increase, would be enough to declare a supervening condition,” she said in an interview.

Of the 17 RTWPBs in the country, two have already declared a supervening condition—the National Capital Region and Western Visayas—due to the series of oil price hikes.

Last week, local oil companies raised their prices, the 12th since the beginning of the year, with the total increases amounting to P9.85 a liter for diesel and P9.60 a liter for gasoline. There have been oil price rollbacks during the period but these were minimal.

Amid the oil price hikes across the country, Tango said that no labor groups in the region have so far filed a petition for wage increase in the area.

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

Tango said the law prohibits a review of a wage order less than a year after its effectivity unless there is a declaration of supervening condition.

The latest wage order in the region took effect last October 31.

It sets the minimum wage rate to P260 for workers in the non-agriculture sector, 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 ten workers.  (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)