CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–To govern the merit of the petitions as well as to get sentiments of the workers, employers, and other stakeholders, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-10 of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) held a blended Public Hearing on Minimum Wage Adjustment for regular and domestic workers, May 11, here.
“In this public hearing, we will have a glimpse of the socio-economic conditions in the region as inputs to the board during our deliberation. You will also be hearing the petition for wage increase filed by TUCP [Trade Union Congress of the Philippines], concerns from the other parties or sectors involved in this public hearing,” DOLE-10 Regional Director Albert Gutib said.
The activity highlights the minimum wage fixing process, updates on the prices of basic goods and prime commodities, agricultural products, and oil and other petroleum products, wage-related statistics, and the socio-economic situation and outlook in Region 10.
Setting expectations in the discussion of minimum wage fixing, Lawyer Gretchen Lamayan of RTWPB-10 said, “The standards/criteria for minimum wage determination include the needs of workers, capacity to pay, comparable wages and income, and requirements of economic and social development.”
She added that the wage category classification covers all minimum wage earners in the private sector in Region 10, regardless of their position, designation or status of employment and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid.
During the hearing, the regional offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Energy (DOE), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shared the price updates of commodities as well as the economic situation of the region.
Among the products seen with price hikes include coffee, bread, instant noodles, laundry soap, and bottled water. For the agricultural sector, DA has also monitored price increase of fish, pork, and spices.
As for the prices in liquid fuels, Misamis Occidental recorded the highest increase in the region on premium gasoline with 50% difference from P51.64 in May 2021 to PP77.28 in May 2022. For the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), Misamis Oriental marked a 31% increase from P854.96 in May 2022 to P1,122.28 in May 2022.
Regional economic update
The monthly poverty threshold for a family of five for 2021 is an average income of P11,920 per month, PSA-10 Supervising Statistical Specialist Brenda Lynn Malinao said. This marks a 16.7% from 2018’s P10,215 average income.
Further, to meet the minimum food requirements of a family, Malinao said, “For Region 10, for a family of five is P8,305, this is an increase of 16.4% from P7,135 in 2018. Ang Misamis Occidental ang naa’y pinakataas nga (has the highest) increase sa (in) food threshold nga (which is) 24.3% or P8,695.”
For her part, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-10 Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño said the region’s poverty incidence among families is at 26.2% in 2021 but despite this number, she stressed that northern Mindanao remains as the seventh biggest regional economy with a share of 4.7% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“The poorest among us are those living in the rural areas, which is understandable because most of the opportunities are found in the urban areas. Ang hagit kanatong tanan (Our challenge) is to disperse development so that it could reach even the geographically isolated areas. Because what is the development that we want? It is one that is sustainable, one that is inclusive,” Cariño added.
Lawyer Proculo Sarmen, regional vice president of ALU-TUCP, said the TUCP is seeking P413 additional daily minimum wage in Region 10, “recognizing the value of health, safety, and life when epidemic struck workers with sicknesses, deaths, anxiety, fear, depression, and grief.”
He added that adjustment is also considering the impact of price increases since the last Wage Orders, and the March 10 Philippine Central Bank inflation projection for 2022.
Sarmen said the petition wage increase is comprised of the food requirement based on the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) Pinggang Pinoy Model at P358.52, increase in prices based on PSA data at P36.79, and the Central Bank projected 2022 inflation (5.1%) at P18.62. Thus, coming up with the P413 additional daily minimum wage for the region.
For their part, the Oro Chamber of Commerce, recommended to apply wage orders only to non-unionized establishments as well as to adopt a productivity-based minimum wage policy. They also cited that rising inflation could be addressed by lifting the excise tax on fuel.
Also noting the businesses that are still recovering from the pandemic, the chamber “recommends the P35 daily wage increase to the current P365 in Region 10.”
Within 30 days after conclusion of the last hearing, RTWPB-10 shall decide on the merits of the petition, and where appropriate, issue a wage order establishing the regional minimum wage rates to be paid by employers, which shall in no case be lower than the applicable statutory minimum wage rates. (RTP/PIA-10)
The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-10 of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) holds a blended Public Hearing on Minimum Wage Adjustment for regular and domestic workers at Cagayan de Oro City, May 11. (RTP/PIA-10)