No pay hike yet in Region 12

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/14 February) – Economic indicators in Southwestern Mindanao have remained stable based on the consultations to determine whether rates of minimum wage earners shall be adjusted, a labor official said.


Jessie dela Cruz, Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) secretary, told reporters Monday that prices of basic consumer goods have generally stayed the same in the past few months.


“Based on the [recent] consultation[s], prices of basic consumer goods have not moved except for a few, which may not be enough to warrant an increase in minimum wages [in the private sector],” he said.


Dela Cruz noted that there exists no supervening condition in Region 12 based on the data presented by the regional offices of the National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of Trade and Industry, among other government agencies.


A declaration of a supervening condition, which, among others, can be triggered by continuous increase in prices of basic commodities, would warrant an adjustment in the salaries of workers even if the one-year wage order prescription has not expired.


The wage order in effect for Region 12 was approved on October 31, 2010. It directed a two-tranche increase of P15 for the daily cost of living allowance of private sector workers.


The NEDA report in particular states that prices of consumer goods have remained stable across the region, Dela Cruz said.


He admitted that prices of fuel products in the region have gone up, but claimed that “it was not enough supervening condition” to adjust the salaries of workers since there are also oil price rollbacks.


The RTWPB conducted public consultations last January 25 and 26 in the cities of General Santos and Kidapawan, respectively.


The results of these consultations will be tackled by the RTWPB Wednesday for decision, Dela Cruz said.


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


Based on Wage Order XII-16, the minimum daily wage rates in the region 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 business sector in the region has pressed for a status quo on any salary adjustment, while militant groups have called for a legislated P125 across-the-board daily wage increase.


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


Earlier, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz pushed for a two-tiered wage system consisting of a mandatory regional wage floor and a productivity or performance-based wage scheme.


The wage floor shall be the lowest wage in the region and this should be required of all employers in the private sector.


The second part involves a pay scheme given to workers based on productivity, and shall be implemented on a voluntary basis. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)