RTWPB XI set to decide wage issue by November

THE REGIONAL Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) XI is expected to issue next month an order whether to maintain or increase the minimum wage rates across all sectors and industries in the region.

Based on the guidelines set by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), Kriztja Marae Labrador, labor communication officer of Department of Labor and Employment XI, said yesterday in a text message that the issuance of the wage order will be within 30 days after the conclusion of the last hearing.

The last public hearing, she said, was conducted on Tuesday at Apo View Hotel that with about 300 stakeholders composed of labor and management groups, covering Davao City, Island Garden City of Samal, Digos City, Davao del Sur and Davao Occidental.

The first one was conducted on Monday at Tagum City with 80 participants from Panabo City, Mati City, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

During the public hearing last Tuesday, Joffrey Suyao, DOLE regional director and RTWPB XI chair, said they are considering all factors before issuing an order, including the socio-economic conditions in the region.

“By the time when we finish the conduct of review, the board will decide whether to preserve the status quo or to set a new minimum wage, which should be adequate to the minimum standard of living of the worker and his family while permissive to the economic growth experienced by the region,” Suyao said.

The labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines petitioned to hike the region’s wage rates by P163 a day.

But Bonifacio Tan, president of president of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII), said that it is still untimely to increase the wages, which would total to P480 a day from the current at P317.

“DCCCII urges the board to admit as of judicial notice, this indubitable fact that the Davao Region has yet to recover from the devastation caused by the El Niño, wherein a state of calamity has been declared in several areas in the Davao Region,” Tan said.

The last time that the wage board conducted a review was in 2014, which prompted the wage board to issue an order that set minimum wage rates and cost of living allowance (COLA) for the workers in the region. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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