Cordillera wages adjusted

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Monday, January 20, 2014


THE latest wage adjustment ordered by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board will be hardly felt by workers in the region.

This came after the RTWPB issued Wage Order 16 prescribing new minimum wage rates and partial integration of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to the basic pay of private sector employees in the Cordillera. The order sets the total daily minimum wage still at P280 in Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan and Tuba (BLIST) and P263 for other areas in the region for the non-agriculture sector with 11 workers and above.

Those in the agriculture, retail and service sector with 10 workers and below will receive P268 in BLIST while those from other areas in the Cordillera will still have P247 minimum wage.

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The wage board merely pegged the Cost of Living Allowance at P20 covering both agriculture and non-agriculture sector regardless of the number of employees while the P17 formerly included in the COLA was integrated in the basic pay of the employee.

But Department of Labor and Employment regional director Henry John Jalbuena, who sits as chairperson of the RTWPB, defended this recent order of the board claiming the order remains beneficial for employees as the basic pay has been increased this and increasing the 13th month pay, overtime pay and salary incentive leaves of private sector employees.

The wage board is composed of two worker’s representative composed of Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-CAR Representative Reinerio Lardizabal, labor lawyer Milton Balagtey, employer’s representatives Alfonso Lao and Johnny Dela Cruz.

Also included in the board are government representatives Department of Trade and Industry regional director Myrna Pablo and National Economic Development Authority-CAR regional director Milagros Rimando and Jalbuena.

The wage adjustment and integration of the COLA to basic pay was the result of a motu propio or the board’s own decision to review the current wages as there have been no petition received by the board on wage adjustments from the labor sector.

The adjustment is a result of consultations conducted by the RTWPB from July 30 to September 5, 2013 in Cordillera provinces.

The board in its recent order “found the need to adjust the minimum wage of workers in the Cordillera Administrative Region” based on considerations including the prevailing economic situation in the region, basic need of employees and the capacity of employers to give such needs.

Jalbuena stressed the new wage order is a result of the Two-Tiered Wage System being implemented by the agency with the first tier focused on the setting of mandatory daily minimum wage and the second tier focused on a productivity-based incentive pay which remains voluntary for the employers.

Exempted from the wage order are individuals employed in the personal service of others which include family drivers, those employed in barangay micro-enterprises ad domestic workers or those covered by the Batas Kasambahay.

The regional director also highlighted the importance of the order as it will continue the implementation of a productivity-based incentive pay which based on their recommendation could be implemented in the retail, manufacturing, hotels and restaurant sectors.

Through the productivity-based incentives, employees who perform well will be given corresponding remuneration based on their agreement with their employers.

He also cleared there will be no effect on taxes of wage earners as the adjustment will not affect the tax brackets of employees.

The wage order was approved last December 20, 2013 but was published only on December 19, 2014. The new wage order will only take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of regional circulation.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 21, 2014.

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