Tell It to SunStar: Wage boards told to act fast

THE nation’s regional wage boards should move fast in providing private sector workers immediate relief from the rising cost of basic goods and services.

Measured minimum wage increases are now more than justified, so we are counting on the boards to do their job.

There are some 4.1 million minimum wage earners in the private sector, according to the Department of Labor and Employment.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) itself expects consumer price increases to gather steam in the current quarter. The BSP has basically implied that the 5.2 percent inflation rate in June – already the highest in more than five years – is bound to worsen before it eases.

Inflation peak will probably occur sometime in the third quarter before slowing down to between 2-4 percent in 2019, the BSP said in a statement on July 5. Despite the 4.3 percent average inflation rate in the first semester, only four of the 17 regional wage boards have so far ordered minimum pay increases.

The Calabarzon (Region 4A) board increased minimum wages by P14 to P21.50 effective April 28. The Soccsksargen (Region 12) board raised minimum wages by P16 to P18 effective May 11. The Western Visayas (Region 6) board augmented minimum wages by P8.50 to P26.50 effective July 12. The Eastern Visayas (Region 8) board added P20 to P30 to minimum wages, with the order still pending publication and effectivity.

Public sector workers are in a better position to cope with higher inflation. Government employees received the third installment of their salary increases in January this year, and are expected to receive the fourth and last portion in January 2019. This is based on the four-year (2016-2019) phased implementation of the compensation adjustment for government personnel under Executive Order No. 201 of 2016.--Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr.

Localized peace talks

Despite NDFP consultant Jose Maria Sison’s statement that peace talks would be pointless, the government has said it would still vigorously pursue the localized peace talks. Such threat by Sison is no longer unusual. We had witnessed many instances in the past wherein this communist group backed off before the peace negotiations could formally resume because of its inconsistency and insincerity.

Though the fate of peace talk seems uncertain, we are still looking for ways that can effectively address the problem. That is why I think that reports that local government units and the military are pushing peace talk in the grassroots, particularly here in the Visayas, are more feasible and genuine.

It is recognized that the role of the local government units in this process is very vital as they know better how to address the root cause of the problem in the area and deal with the need of rebels to encourage them to return to the folds of the law.

The results may not be immediate but the move is more practical. Will it work really this time? - Lorenzo L. Sevilla of Central Philippines State University, Negros Occidental


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