No reason to hike wages in Region 12–RTWPB

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 November) — The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Southwestern Mindanao has found no reason to adjust the salary of workers in the private sector, an official said on Friday.

Jessie dela Cruz, RTWPB secretary, said the wage board members met last Wednesday and decided “it’s not yet time to increase wages of minimum earners in the region.”

Government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Department of Trade and Industry and the National Economic and Development Authority presented data during the meeting.

“The economic situation in the region remains stable,” dela Cruz told MindaNews.

But Ma. Gloria Tango, DOLE-12 regional director and RTWPB chairperson, ordered the close monitoring of prices of basic commodities across the region in the next two months.

The one-year ban on filing a wage increase petition in the private sector had expired last October 31.

Dela Cruz said that no labor groups have so far filed a petition for wage increase.

Representatives of labor and the business sector also attended last Wednesday’s RTWPB meeting.

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

On October 31 last year, 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 to the wage rates, earlier called on the posting of the rates in giant billboards in strategic places across the region.

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.

The business sector in the region maintained they would prefer a status quo as salary increases would be an “additional burden to employers.” (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)