THE P15 to P25 daily minimum wage increase for workers in Western Visayas, including Negros Occidental, is seen to take effect next month.

Hernane Braza, labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-Western Visayas, said Sunday that they do not see any impediment that could delay the implementation of the new wage order.

Wage Order 23 provides an additional P25 daily minimum wage increase for workers in the commercial and industrial sectors, and P15 for those in the agricultural workers.

Once effective, industrial and commercial workers, who currently earn P256.50 to P298.50 per day, will already receive P281.50 to P323.50.

Agricultural workers, who at present get P256.50 to P266.50 daily, will now earn P271.50 to P281.50.

Braza, who represents the National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (Nacusip), said he has yet to sign the wage order.

"We are still reviewing the implementing rules and regulations, but we are sure that before March, most probably by the second half of February, there will be an additional wage already," he added.

His fellow workers representative Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa), already signed the new wage order on Friday.

Once signed by all seven members, it will be sent back to the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) for the latter's affirmation to be followed by the publication.

"We expect its effectivity 15 days after its publication, likely before March," Sancho said.

In December, both labor representatives, along with other members of RTWPB-Western Visayas, signed the draft submitted to the NWPC for review.

They agreed on the drafted increase, saying that "despite the amount is not that substantial, it is better than having nothing like last year."

The last wage order, which expired in May 2016, provided workers in Western Visayas and Negros Occidental a daily increase of P11.50 only.

No position yet

The business sector, on the other hand, refused to comment yet on the impending wage increase.

Frank Carbon, regional governor of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Western Visayas and Negros Occidental, said they want to see first the details of the new wage order.

These details include the classification of workers and their corresponding wages, Carbon said.

"We have to wait for its issuance before we can discuss and make our position," he said, stressing that "those who can pay should pay more so that we could create more jobs."

The business leader added that the wage setting scheme should be used to create more jobs to increase the middle class.

By increasing the middle class, the earning capacity is also gaining strength resulting to more production, sales and investment, Carbon added.