DoLE signals NCR preparations for 4th quarter wage decision

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construction workers
Workers take a break outside the construction site in Taguig City on July 14. -- PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ-JOHN ROSALES

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said the wage board for the National Capital Region (NCR) will meet later this month to consult stakeholders and determine whether there are “supervening conditions” that will allow it to conduct wage hearings as soon as legally possible.

The NCR is one of six Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) currently assessing socioeconomic conditions, Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III told reporters. The other boards are those of Region I (Ilocos ), II (Cagayan Valley), IV-B (Mimaropa), X (Northern Mindanao) and Caraga.

Boards are not allowed to hear wage petitions within one year of the last action. The NCR board’s last action was issued on Sept. 14, 2017, taking effect on Oct. 5 that year.

NCR inflation in June was 5.8%, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). In Region I, inflation was measured at 5.1%, while for Region II it was 3.9%. Inflation in Region IV-B was 4.1%, and in Region X it was 4.9%. Caraga inflation was 3.6%.

“For boards who determine that there are supervening conditions, they could actually entertain petitions before the anniversary,” Mr. Lagunzad said.

“But that has to be determined by the board and confirmed by the (National Wage and Productivity Commission). Usually, the boards will decide on the wage issue when the anniversary happens,” he added.

Mr. Lagunzad said that the NCR board “is set to meet on July 24 and will conduct consultations in preparation for the immediate conduct of public hearings once its wage order (WO) reaches its anniversary date.”

Cagayan Valley also plans to perform “continuous monitoring and consultations with government agencies” and “publish notices of public hearing upon the anniversary date of the current WO.”

Ilocos region, whose WO anniversary is Jan. 25, 2019, will perform a “desk review of socioeconomic indicators.” Caraga will also be performing a desk review but will “start the wage setting process” after its anniversary date on Dec. 8.

Mimaropa’s earliest date to issue a WO is October.

Northern Mindanao will be conducting public hearings in July and August.

Mr. Lagunzad also added that “Nine boards have decided to raise their minimum wage and two boards are about to issue their wage order.”

These nine regions are Region III (Central Luzon), IV-A (Calabarzon), VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas), VIII (Eastern Visayas), IX (Zamboanga Peninsula), XI (Davao Region), XII (Soccsksargen), and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Davao may end up with the highest increase in wages at P56.43, though the Labor department has yet to announce when this increase will take effect.

The regions whose WOs have yet to be published are Central Visayas (P10 to P52) and Zamboanga (P20).

Those whose WOs are already effective are Eastern Visayas (P20-30), Soccsksargen (P16 to P18), Western Visayas, (P8.50 to P26.50), and Calabarzon (P9 to P45). ARMM, despite having the highest inflation rate of all the regions, had a P15 increase in basic pay and the region’s WO took effect last month.

Central Luzon (P20) will have its WO take effect on Aug. 1.

On the other hand, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Region V (Bicol) are “expected to issue wage orders within the month of July and August 2018.”

CAR is expected to issue a new WO by this month. Bicol will hold a public hearing on July 20 and deliberations will be on July 24 and 31, and Aug. 7 and 14.

Mr. Lagunzad said factors considered in setting the minimum wage are “the requirements of the workers, the needs of the workers and their families, and the capacity of the employers to pay.” — Gillian M. Cortez