A REGIONAL wage board has approved a PHP 33 hike in the daily minimum wages of private sector workers in Central Visayas, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said on Wednesday.
The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Region VII issued a wage order on Sept. 5 that will provide a 7.6% to 8.6% increase in the region’s daily minimum wages. The pay hike will take effect in the Central Visayas Region on Oct. 1.
DoLE said in a statement that around 346,946 minimum wage workers will directly benefit from the wage increase, while 399,572 employees earning above minimum wage will also benefit as companies are expected to correct the wage distortion.
Nonagriculture workers in Class A areas will see their minimum wage increase to PHP 468 from the current PHP 435, while those in Class B will see wages go up to PHP 430 from PHP 397. Workers in Class C areas will receive a minimum wage of PHP 420 from PHP 387.
Meanwhile, workers in agriculture and nonagriculture establishments with less than 10 workers living in Class A areas will receive a daily wage of PHP 458 from the current PHP 425. Workers in Class B areas will get a daily wage of PHP 425 from PHP 392, while those in Class C will receive a minimum wage of PHP 415 from PHP 382.
Class A covers the cities of Carcar, Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga; including municipalities of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Lilo-an, Minglanilla and San Fernando.
Class B areas include the cities of Bais, Bayawan, Bogo, Canlaon, Dumaguete, Guihulngan, Tagbiliran, Talisay, Tanjay and Toledo.
Class C is composed of the rest of the region’s municipalities not clustered under the previous two classifications.
The Central Visayas Region is considered a major transportation hub as it is home to the Mactan Cebu International Airport, the country’s second-busiest airport next to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Cebu City-based labor groups earlier sought a more substantial across-the-board increase of PHP 292.50 to the region’s daily minimum wages.
Last year, the Central Visayas wage board implemented a PHP 31 increase for all private sector workers, which took effect on June 14, 2022. Wage boards can only act on wage petitions a year after a region’s last wage order.
On Sept. 5, the wage board in Region IV-A (Calabarzon) approved increases, ranging from PHP 35 to PHP 50, to the daily minimum wages of workers in the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (Calabarzon) provinces.
The higher daily minimum wage will take effect in Calabarzon on Sept. 24, DoLE said.
In March, the Worker’s Initiative for Wage Increase (Win for Win) filed a petition asking the Calabarzon wage board to increase the region’s daily minimum wage to PHP 750 to help workers cope with the soaring prices of basic goods.
The National Capital Region Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board on June 29 approved a PHP 40 increase in the daily minimum wage, bringing the daily minimum wage to PHP 610 a day from PHP 570 for those in nonagriculture sectors.
This is much lower than what the Unity for Wage Increase Now’s petition sought for, a PHP 570 increase that would bring Metro Manila’s daily minimum wage to PHP 1,100.
Labor Undersecretary Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio in July said the regional wage boards of Central Luzon and Western Visayas are also likely to decide on pending wage petitions this month.
The Central Luzon Workers for Wage Increase in June asked the Central Luzon RTWPB for a PHP 640 increase to the current PHP 460 daily minimum pay.
In March, Iloilo City trade unions sought a PHP 100 increase in the daily minimum pay for private workers in Western Visayas.
Under the Labor Code, wage boards must consider the demand for a living wage, wage adjustment in the consumer price index, the changes in the cost of living in the region, and the needs of workers and their families among others.
Labor groups have called for legislated wage increases and for lawmakers to review the existing regional setting system, saying the meager wage increases will not help workers.
In March, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri filed a bill that seeks to increase wages of all workers by PHP 150.
The Employers Confederation of the Philippines has said a legislated wage hike should also consider workers in less formal employment, noting that private sector workers only make up 16% of the labor force. — John Victor D. Ordoñez