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Bicol wage increase order up for review by board


LEGAZPI CITY—The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Bicol is set to review the wage increase order for workers that was approved early this year but which was not implemented as it fell short of the affirmation and publication requirements to be effective.

Francia Ocmer, board secretary of RTWPB-Bicol, in an interview on Monday, clarified that although Wage Order No. 20 was approved last March 6, it was not affirmed by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) main office.

"This RTWPB RBV–20 was not affirmed by NWPC and was not also published in newspapers of general circulation," Ocmer said.

Had the wage order been implemented, private sector employees would have been receiving an increase of PHP25 in their daily wage, supposed to be given in two tranches last April (PHP15) and July (PHP10).

Ocmer said the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic that resulted in limited movement of people due to the community quarantine contributed to the delay in the implementation of the wage order.

Because of this, she added, the board would now have to review or approve another new wage order.

“But because of this pandemic which is still grossly affecting our economy, it is hard to say if the employers will be capable to give any wage increase,” Ocmer said.

"I am not saying that an increase in the daily wage is not possible because our workers are really in dire need of such additional pay. But we need to put into consideration several factors, including the plight of our businesses, in order to balance everything,” she added.

Ocmer said the board is holding its regular monthly virtual meeting which is being attended by labor representatives and members of the employers’ confederation so there is still a possibility of approving another wage order.

At present, employees in the region are receiving a daily minimum wage of PHP310 based on Wage Order No. 19 which took effect on Sept. 21, 2018. (PNA)