Wage adjustment in Region 12 unlikely until prescription expires, says DoLE exec

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/04 September) — Salary rates for minimum wage earners in the private sector in Southwestern Mindanao maybe adjusted before the yearend after recent consultations conducted by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) showed “a lack of supervening condition,” an official said last week.

Ma. Gloria Tango, Department of Labor and Employment regional director, said the one-year prescription to amend the existing salary rates will end in October.

“The one-year prescription will end soon and so we can review and possibly adjust the salaries of private sector workers,” she said, noting they recently conducted consultations that failed to elicit the declaration of a supervening condition.

A declaration of a supervening condition by the RTWPB would warrant a review for a wage increase even if the one-year wage order has not lapsed yet.

In April, the RTWPB conducted consultations but found no reason to declare a supervening condition amid the skyrocketing prices of fuel and other basic consumer goods.

Several consultations conducted recently resulted to the same conclusion, even as fuel prices have continued to rise and are now nearing P60 per liter for premium gasoline in some parts of the region.

Tango urged private sector workers to be patient, reiterating that the one-year prescription to amend the wage rates will soon expire.

On October 31, 2010, the RTWPB approved Wage Order XII-16 that directed a two-tranche daily cost of living allowance (Cola) increase in the salaries in the private sector worth P15.

The additional P10 Cola took effect right after the approval and the remaining P5 last April 1.

With the inclusion of the Cola, the new minimum daily wage rates in the region now stands at P260 for non-agriculture workers, P240 for plantation workers, P235 for non-plantation workers, P240 for retail/service establishments employing not more than 10 workers and P234 for retail/service establishments employing less than 10 people.

The Regional Development Council, in a bid to improve employers’ compliance with the wage rates, earlier called on the posting of the rates in giant billboards in strategic places across the region.

This city, the administrative seat of regional government agencies, has complied with the request with a billboard of minimum salary rates placed near one of the public transport terminals in the downtown area.

Tango earlier said the compliance of employers in the region on the proper wage rates was on a downtrend, pegging it at 72.40% in 2010 and 67.15% in the first semester of 2011.

If there will be no petition from labor groups to increase the wage rates after the one-year expiration on October 31, the RTWPB can review it moto propio or on its own.

But Allan Yaphockun, governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Southwestern Mindanao, maintained they would prefer a status quo as salary increases would be an additional burden to employers.

The region straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)