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Bicol workers to get wage hike

DOLE Sec. Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz
The National Wages and Productivity Commission has affirmed the newest wage order of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) of Region V raising minimum wages in the Bicol Region, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz announced at her year-end press conference.

“The Commission has unanimously affirmed Wage Order No. RB V-17 which grants an increase of PHP5 per day to minimum wage earners in non-agriculture establishments whose employees are more than 10 workers, and a PHP12 per day increase to minimum wage earners, also in non-agriculture establishments employing not more than 10 workers,” said Baldoz.

The said wage order will become effective on Christmas Day, 25 December.

Employer representative to the Commission, Atty. Eduardo Rondain, Labor Representative David Diwa, OIC Executive Director Jeanette Damo, and DOLE Undersecretary Nicon F. Fameronag, acting on behalf of Secretary Baldoz as chairperson, all voted in the affirmative for the wage order.

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) opted to adjust the minimum wage rates after a series of public hearing and deliberations, to enable workers to cope with the rising cost of commodities.

Baldoz emphasized that the decision to grant an increase in the minimum wage of workers in the region is aimed at balancing the needs of workers and the viability of business and industry.

Upon effectivity of Wage Order No.RBV-17, the minimum wage of workers in non-agriculture establishments will be PHP265 per day. Workers in non-agriculture establishments employing not more than 10 workers; cottage/handicraft, and in agriculture establishments will be receiving PHP248 per day.

The new rates apply to all minimum wage earners in the private sector regardless of their position and irrespective of the methods by which their wages are paid.

Household or domestic helpers, persons employed in the personal service of another, including family drivers and workers in Barangay Micro Business Enterprises, are not covered by the new wage order.

In determining the new minimum wage, the Regional Wage Board in Bicol acted motu propio and took into consideration the concept that the minimum wage is not just to restore the purchasing power of workers, but to provide a safety net for vulnerable workers and afford equity.

Baldoz also urged labor and employer groups to build the capacity of business enterprises to be competitive by developing and implementing productivity improvement and gain-sharing programs.

She said that complaints for non-compliance with Wage Order RB III-19 shall be filed with DOLE Regional Office No. III and shall be subject to the mandatory 30-day conciliation and mediation process under the single-entry approach (SEnA) reform measure. However, if settlement fails, the case becomes subject of enforcement proceedings under Article 128 of the Labor Code.

The SEnA is an administrative approach to provide speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible settlement procedure for all issues/complaints arising from employer-employee relations to prevent them from ripening into full blown disputes. Under this approach, all labor and employment disputes shall undergo a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation process to effect settlement among the contending parties.

She added that any person, corporation, trust, or firm, partnership, association, or entity which refuses, or fails, to pay the prescribed wage rates in accordance with Wage Order No. RB III-19 shall be penalized with a fine not exceeding twenty five thousand pesos (PHP25,000) and/or imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than two years. (PNA)

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