54 distressed firms, businesses exempt from wage hike in R-12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 October) – At least 54 distressed companies and business establishments in Region 12 have been granted exemptions in the last five months from the implementation of the additional P10 wage increase for private workers in the area.

Jessie dela Cruz, secretary of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-Region 12, said Thursday the concerned entities applied for the exemption mainly due to the impact of the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Construction workers in Kidapawan City, one of the cities in Region 12. MindaNews file photo by GEONARRI SOLMERANO

He said companies and establishments “adversely affected by natural calamities” may apply for temporary exemption with the board from implementing a wage order “upon strong justifiable reasons.”

The rules of exemption, as determined by the National Wages and Productivity Commission, also cover distressed establishments, new business enterprises and retail/service establishments employing not more than 10 workers, he said.

In the case of the region, he said a total of 59 companies have submitted their applications for exemption from implementing the P10 wage increase that took effect last May 1.

It was the second tranche of the P25 increase approved by the RTWPB-12 in December 2019 under Wage Order No. RBXII-21.

In seeking the exemption, Dela Cruz said the concerned companies cited losses from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, including the community quarantine restrictions, as reason.

“Out of 59, the board already granted the application of 54 companies while the five others are still undergoing assessment,” he said on the phone.

As provided for under Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act, he said affected companies may seek for a one-year exemption from implementing a wage order but the RTWPB-12 decided to only allow it until February next year.

Under the current wage order, workers received an increase of P15 upon its effectivity last February 2 and additional P10 starting last May 1.

It raised the new pay floor in the region to P336 for workers in the non-agriculture sector and P315 for those in agriculture, retail and service sectors.

Dela Cruz said they have extended the application period for the wage order exemption to accommodate the other affected companies and establishments.

“We continue to accept and process applications,” he said, adding that interested entities only need to submit an affidavit detailing their status, the cause of their distress and cite their recorded losses. (MindaNews)