Wage hike in Region 12 seen before Labor Day

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/4 Apr) – An increase in the daily minimum wage rates for private sector workers in Southwestern Mindanao is looming, officials said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Chona Mantilla, Department of Labor and Employment Region 12 director, said the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, which she also chairs, recently decided to hike the floor pay from P10 to P14 a day.

She noted the latest salary increase, or Wage Order No. RBXII-17, may take effect before May 1 or Labor Day, a regular holiday to honor the workers.

Before it will be effective, it needs to be published in a local newspaper.

Under the new wage order, which will be implemented in two tranches, the daily minimum wage rates will range from P246 to P270.

The first tranche was expected to take effect before May 1 and the next on December 1, 2012.

In coming up with wage adjustment, the RTWPB decided to integrate the present P15 daily cost of living allowance (COLA) to the new basic wage.

The existing daily floor pay ranges from P234 to P260.

“The last wage order was issued more than one year ago and there being no petition, the RTWPB has resolved to review, motu propio (on its own), the existing minimum wage rates in the region,” Mantilla said.

Studies on the socio-economic condition in the region warranted the need to grant an increase in the minimum wage rates of private sector workers in Region 12 regardless of their position, designation or status of their employment, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid, Ms. Mantilla said

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

The Wage Board conducted public consultations early this year in parts of the region to determine if a salary adjustment is needed for the area.

Alfredo Hebrona Jr., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry governor for Southwestern Mindanao, declined to give a comment on the looming wage hike, saying he was not privy to the deliberation.

Jessie dela Cruz, RTWPB secretary, said that exemptions maybe granted to certain types of establishments, such as those distressed and those whose assets are not more than P3 million.

Following the public consultations early this year, Dela Cruz has said that the situation may not warrant an adjustment in the minimum wages of private sector workers, citing a report then by the National Economic and Development Authority that prices of basic consumer goods have remained stable.

Militant labor groups in the area since the past few years have demanded a legislated P125 across-the-board daily wage increase. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)