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24 May 2012

DOLE Approves P8.00 increase of minimum wage in Cordillera

Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board Cordillera Autonomous Region (RTWPB-CAR) has approved the adjustment in the daily basic wage of private sector minimum wage earners in the region by P8.00.
Baldoz made the announcement after RTWPB-CAR chairman and DOLE-CAR Regional Director Henry John Jalbuena reported that the board, after deliberating on the results of the public consultations and the studies on the socio-economic condition of the region, decided on the need to adjust the minimum wage levels of workers and make them “consistent with the government’s policy of achieving higher levels of productivity to preserve and generate jobs and augment the income of workers without necessarily impairing the growth and productivity of business and industry.”
“I welcome the decision of the RTWPB-CAR. Its latest wage order is pursuant to our wage policy reform called the two-tier wage system and was also meant to restore the purchasing power of our minimum wage earners in the region,” said Baldoz.
Wage Order No. RB-CAR-15 provides for an increase of P8.00 to all private sector workers and employees receiving the minimum wage in the CAR regardless of their position, designation, or status and irrespective of the method their wages are paid. The new wage order shall take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
The wage order also maintains the COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) ranging from P22.00 to P37.00 granted under Wage Order No. 14.
Baldoz pointed out that the wage board has not received any petition for a wage hike, but it resolved motu proprio, or on its own, to initiate and conduct evaluations and studies aside from undertaking public consultation throughout the region.
Upon effectivity of the wage order, the daily minimum wage rate of workers in the non-agricultural sector in Baguio City, and the municipalities of La Trinidad, Tuba, Itogon, and Sablan (BLIST) in the province of Benguet shall receive P280 per day; while those in the agricultural sector shall receive P262 per day. Outside these areas in the region (Mt. Province, Abra, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Apayao provinces), the minimum wage for non-agricultural sector workers and agricultural workers shall be P263 and P246, respectively.
On the other hand, workers in retail and service establishments employing more than ten workers in the BLIST areas shall receive P280 per day, while those outside the BLIST areas shall receive P263.
Those establishments in the BLIST areas employing ten workers or less shall pay their workers P260 per day, while establishments in other areas of the region shall pay their workers P239 per day.
Baldoz explained that an important feature of the wage order is the provision setting P280 as the floor wage in the BLIST areas and P263 as the floor wage in the other areas of the region, which compose the first-tier of the two-tier wage system. The floor wage was based on the region’s socio-economic indicators, including poverty threshold, average wages, and other specific factors.
There is also the provision for the voluntary payment of productivity- and incentive-based pay based on business performance, labor productivity, work behavior, and enterprise competitiveness, or the second tier. The wage board shall issue an advisory, which shall serve as the guidelines for the implementation of the second tier.
Jalbuena, in his report to Baldoz, emphasized that the wage order also provides for the creation of a Productivity and Incentive Committee (PIC) in enterprises that shall have equal representation from labor and management. The PIC shall establish the criteria and mechanism in determining productivity measures including a recommendation on the range of productivity incentives.
To date, seven RTWPBs, including RTWPB-CAR, have already issued wage orders for 2012. These RTWPBs are those of the NCR and Regions 2, 4-A, 5, 6, and 12.