ILOILO – The new minimum daily wage rates in Western Visayas will take effect on Nov. 26. The increase is between P15 to P30. Progressive groups, however, are not happy. They said the new rates are “an outright disrespect and insult to the long-standing call of our workers for a P750 national minimum wage.”
Wage Order No. RBVI-25 has been given the final approval by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC).
All are covered, said Regional Director Cyril Ticao of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), also the chairperson of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB).
In the non-agriculture / industrial / commercial sector, the new daily minimum wage rate for those employing more than 10 workers is P395 – this is P30 more than the current rate of P365.
On the other hand, for those employing 10 workers or below, the new rate is P310 – this is P15 higher than the current P295 daily minimum wage.
In the agriculture sector, the new daily minimum wage rate is P315 – P20 higher than the current P295.
“The increase cannot even buy a kilo of rice. Worse, to those with P15 increase, it cannot even pay a one-way back-to-back trip within four kilometers minimum distance without shelling out P2 more. A kilo of regular well-milled rice now costs P45-50,” said Elmer Forro, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan-Panay).
Ticao said the new rates were published on Nov. 11, a requirement of the law before Wage Order No. RBVI-25 is implemented.
In approving the wage increase, NWPC cited the “most recent poverty threshold, average wage, consumer price index and inflation rate.”
“Ang gasoline…balaklon medyo nagataas man so ginkosiderar. Bisan gamay lang basta may increase,” said Ticao.
According to Bayan-Panay, a family of six needs a daily living wage of P1,400 to live decently.
“The P395 is only 28 percent of that,” said Forro.
Wage Order No. RBVI-25 listed some exemptions: distressed establishments, new business enterprises and establishments adversely affected by calamities natural or human-induced.
Ticao said DOLE will be making sure the new wage order is followed.
“Our inspectors will be roaming around,” he said.
The director also said his office is ready to accept complaints against those not following Wage Order No. RBVI-25.
Non-compliant employers would be subjected to the mandatory 30-day conciliation and mediation process under the Single Entry Approach, said Ticao.
“If a settlement is not reached, the case would move to the next phase which is the enforcement proceedings under Articles 128 and 129 of the Labor Code as amended,” he said.
Ticao also said Wage Order No. RBVI-25 may be challenged – but not later than 10 days from the date of its publication in a newspaper of general circulation which was on Nov. 11.
Forro, on the other hand, said workers have long demanded that the government dismantle the RTWPB and do away with the regionalization of wages.
“Instead, it should implement a national minimum wage standard that will at least alleviate the living conditions of workers. This is a small step towards giving just cost to the labor they provide for the economy. At least, the P750 national minimum wage is closer to P1,400 family living wage,” said Forro.
The petition for wage increase was filed on July 1 by the New and Independent Workers Organization – a rank-and-file union of Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc.-Bacolod. It sought between P50 to P60 wage increase./PN