Workers in Cordillera get pay hike effective Nov. 18

Workers in Cordillera get pay hike effective Nov. 18

BAGUIO CITY— Workers in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) will get an early Christmas gift effective November 18 when Wage Order (WO) 20 takes effect, giving between PHP30 and PHP45 salary increase to all minimum wage earners regardless of the number of the employees and the sector.

All minimum wage earners in Baguio City, La Trinidad in Benguet and Tabuk City in Kalinga will start to get PHP350 a day wage from the previous PHP320 while other areas in the region will start to get PHP340 from the PHP315, based on the order issued by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productive Board (RTWPB).

Aside from the increase, the PHP10 cost of living allowance (COLA) of the employees will be incorporated in the minimum wage effective May 1, 2020, which will have an effect on the computation of the 13th-month pay and the retirement benefit of the employees.

“The adjustment in the wage was a result of the motu propio (on its own) decision of the RTWPB to revisit the wages in the region after the one year anniversary of wage order 19 in Aug. 20,” said Exequiel Ronie Guzman, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Cordillera regional director and RTWPB chairman during a press conference on Tuesday.

He said they consulted various provinces of the region, looked at the proposals and counter-proposals of the different sectors.

Guzman said in coming up with the adjustment, four factors were considered– needs of the workers and his family, the capacity of the employer to pay, the competitiveness of the region’s wage to the adjacent regions, and come up with a simplified and easy to implement and monitor wage order.

He said the PHP350 is between Region 1’s (Ilocos) PHP340 and the minimum wage of Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) which is PHP360.

The RTWPB approved WO 20 on Aug. 1 which was affirmed by the National Wages Productivity Commission on October 29. It was published on November 3 in a newspaper of general circulation in the Cordillera and will take effect 15 days after, or on Nov. 18.

Maagang pamasko po ito (This is an early Christmas gift) which our workers might receive together with their 13th-month pay,” Guzman said.

Renerio Lardizabal Jr., an RTWPB labor sector representative, said the amount of adjustment considered the employer’s capacity to pay.

“This was decided on so as not to result in retrenchment. Mas maganda na tuluy-tuloy ang pagkita ng mga manggagawa kesa may tamaan na iba na kawawa naman dahil male-lay off dahil sa di na kaya ng kumpanya na magbayad (It is better for employees to have a continuous employment than lay-off other workers to give way to a higher salary adjustment. It will not good to have to sacrifice people),” he said.

He said the proposal from the labor sector was between PHP60 and PHP100 pay hike.

Lardizabal said they, however, negotiated that the COLA be made part of the basic salary, which was agreed on by the management sector.

Juan Johnny dela Cruz, the management sector representative, said they also considered in the amount of increase in the Pag-IBIG contribution.

“We also considered the mandatory social contribution that the employers are handling. I believe the employer sector has agreed to a 50 percent increase in the contribution of the employees,” he said.

Dela Cruz said this means shelling out at least PHP50 additional for the employer contribution of their employees.

Myrna Pablo, regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Cordillera, said according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, CAR has 18,783 micro-enterprises, employing 49,399 and around 14,700 of the industries are assisted by the DTI.

Micro industries are those with a capitalization of not more than PHP3 million.

There are 1,587 small industries with 32,710 employees, 47 medium with 6,644 employees and 49 large industries with 32,718 employees or a total of 121,471 workers.

The wage order will benefit mostly those in the micro and small enterprises, she said.

Base on the DOLE record, CAR posts an average of 85 percent compliance to WO 19 that took effect on Aug. 20.

As of December 2018, there was a 96 percent compliance with the WO 19.

Dela Cruz said the wage order only sets the minimum wage but it does not prevent companies from giving and being generous to their employees.

He also reminded the management about the giving of the 13th-month pay which should not be later than December 25.   Liza Agoot / PNA –