MINIMUM WAGE rates in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are set to increase with the approval of the new regional government’s first wage order on Nov. 13.

The Bangsamoro Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (BTWPB-BARMM) issued on Nov. 14 Wage Order No. BARMM-01, which lays out the higher daily pay for workers in non-agriculture and agriculture sectors.

A P20 increase was approved for all private sector workers in the cities of Marawi and Lamitan, and the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi.

This translates to a minimum daily wage of P300 for the non-agriculture sector, and P290 for agriculture.

The last wage hike in the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which was replaced by the BARMM, took effect June 15, 2018.

For Cotabato City and 63 barangays in Cotabato province, all new areas under the autonomous region, non-agriculture sector workers will receive a P14 wage increase or P325 per day, while those in agriculture will get P10 more or P300 per day.

The city and the barangays — which voted yes in a referendum for inclusion in the BARMM earlier this year — used to be under Region 12, or SOCCSKSARGEN, covering South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City.

The previous SOCCSKSARGEN rates, in effect since May 11 last year based on RB XII-20, were P311 for non-agricultural workers, and P290 for agriculture, service, and retail sectors.

Under Section 3 of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, “Labor, employment, and occupation” is listed among the “exclusive powers,” or where the BARMM government can exercise exclusive authority and jurisdiction.

The BTWPB-BARMM is composed of the following: BARMM Labor and Employment Minister Romeo K. Sema as chair; Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority Executive Director Mohajirin Ali, and Trade, Investments, and Tourism Minister Abuamri A. Taddik as vice-chairpersons; Jonathan Acosta and Joyal Maquinto as workers’ representatives; and Joseph Go and Datu Haroun Bandila as employers’ representatives.

Mr. Sema, in the statement, noted that businesses that fail to comply with the wage order are subject to penalties as defined by the national wage laws contained in Republic Acts 6727 and 8188.

Under RA 6727, “Any Wage Order issued by the Boards shall take effect 15 days after its complete publication in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the region.”Marifi S. Jara