- CHERYL G. CRUZ
Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III commended the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards in Western Visayas and the National Capital Region for increasing the minimum wages in their areas.
“Let me cite the good job done by the Region VI and NCR wage boards for taking the extra mile in resolving with dispatch the petitions for wage adjustments in their jurisdictions,” Bello said in a statement Sunday, as he thanked the wage boards for heeding his call to expedite the review of the current minimum wage in their regions.
“I expect the other regional wage boards to issue their respective wage orders in the coming days and week. I am confident that we can overcome the odds in wage-setting if only to help ease the living condition of our minimum wage earners,” he stressed.
The RTWPB 6, chaired by Atty. Sixto Rodriguez Jr., regional director of the DOLE in Western Visayas, issued Wage Order No. RBVI-26, providing a P55 daily salary increase for workers in the non-agriculture, industrial, and commercial establishments, P110 for those employing 10 or less workers, and a P95 increase for workers in the agriculture sector, bringing the daily minimum wages in the region to P450, P420, and P410, respectively.
The order is expected to protect around 214,836 minimum wage earners in private establishments in Western Visayas from undue low pay, the DOLE said, adding the increase considered the restoration of the purchasing power of minimum wage earners because of the escalating prices of basic goods, commodities, and petroleum products, and to bring the minimum wage rate above the 2021 first semester poverty threshold of P370 a day.
The Board also issued Wage Order No. RBVI-DW-04, providing a wage increase of P500 to the current P4,000 monthly minimum wage rate for domestic workers. The add-on is expected to benefit 160,795 domestic workers, including 49,413 live-in and 111,382 live-out kasambahay all over Western Visayas.
“Historically, this is the highest wage increase in the region. I think the rates are fair and reasonable enough,” Rodriguez told the Negros NOW Daily recently, adding that the rule of majority prevailed and a consensus was reached over the new minimum wage rates.
He underscored the needs of the workers for a wage increase, noting that the last wage hikes were in 2019.
Rodriguez said this was the first time that the wage hikes for private workers and the kasambahays were submitted at the same time to the National Wages and Productivity Commission for final review and approval.
He assured the workers of full compliance to the wage order if approved by the NWPC and commits to uphold the workers’ rights and welfare. “As long as I am the regional director here, I will ensure that full compliance will be observed.”
The RTWPB NCR, meanwhile, issued WO No. NCR-23 on May 13, that granted a wage increase of P33, bringing the new minimum wage rate to P570 and P533 for workers in the non-agriculture and agriculture sectors, respectively.
The last wage order for workers in private establishments in NCR took effect Nov. 2018.
The new wage orders will be reviewed by the NWPC and shall take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation./CGC