THE National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) said it has completed the first portion of its review of the current wage determination system and is on track to meet the end-2019 deadline.

In an interview with BusinessWorld, NWPC Director Criselda R. Sy said that the first part of the study is finished.

Kakatapos lang ng (we just finished the) consultation with the board members… Right now yes, we are on track,” she said, adding that the consultations involved the labor, management and government sectors.

Ms. Sy noted that the consultations reviewed how the Wage rationalization Act or Republic Act 6727 was implemented in the past 30 years. The law authorizes the 17 Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) to determine wage orders in their respective areas.

RTWPBs are allowed to increase the minimum wages in the region once every 12 months unless a “supervening condition” emerges.

Minimum wages in the Philippines are P270 to P537, depending on the region. As of this year, Region 1 (Ilocos Region), Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) and Region 13 (CARAGA) have issued their wage orders for the year. Eight RTWPB wage orders are past their one-year anniversary: Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Region 4-A (CALABARZON), Region 6 (Western Visayas), Region 7 (Central Visayas), Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), Region 11 (Davao Region), Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Ms. Sy said that NWPC is “crossing their fingers” that the study will be finished by the end of this year, as ordered by Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello at the end of 2018. The NWPC has also commissioned a third party to review the wage fixing system.

“The second component is the number crunching part which is the review of selected Macroeconomic data to see the outcomes of the minimum wage setting… The third party is reviewing this. We just give them data,” she said. — Gillian M. Cortez