KMU says P16 additional minimum wage not enough

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 07 January) — The additional P16 increase in the minimum wage of the workers effective January 1 in Davao Region is “worthless” amid the increasing prices of basic commodities and services, the Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao Region (KMU-SMR) said. 

John Paul Dizon, secretary general of KMU-SMR, told MindaNews on Friday that the implementation of the second tranche of wage increase is not enough to help workers cope with the impact of inflation that weakens the purchasing power of the workers in the region.

As Presidential candidate, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. promised the price of rice could go down to 20 pesos per kilo. He has been President and Agriculture Secretary for six months now but the price is still 40 pesos and higher per kilo in Matina Public Market in Davao City as of 4 January 2023. MindaNews photo by CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS

The first tranche took effect upon issuance of the Wage Order No. RB-XI-21 on June 19, 2022, which added P31 to the minimum wage of workers in all sectors.

With the second tranche, the workers in non-agricultural sector, comprising firms classified as industrial/commercial and retail/service employing more than 10 workers, would receive a new daily minimum wage of P443 from P427 and workers in agricultural sectors, P438 from P422.

For retail/service establishments employing not more than 10 workers, the new minimum wage rate has been increased to P428 from P412 while the third and final tranche with additional P15 will take on April 1, 2023.

Dizon added that the region’s current minimum wage only addresses the basic food necessities of the families but not for education and health.

He said the KMU-SMR is pushing for a legislation that would set the “family living wage” at P1,100 so that the workers would have the capacity to purchase the basic needs, which would in turn revitalize the economy and benefit the business establishments.

He urged the Department of Labor and Employment to beef up their monitoring of establishments in the region because there are companies that do not observe the implementation of minimum wage.

Dizon said capitalists would resort to various schemes to circumvent policies and make themselves appear to be compliant with the wage order, many of them employing labor-only contracting to avoid regularization of workers. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)