THE Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas has issued a clarification on the effectivity of Wage Order No. 26 providing a P55 to P110 daily minimum wage increase for the private sector workers in the region.

RTWPB-6, in its Facebook post Wednesday, May 18, said the Wage Order has not been published yet in any newspaper of general circulation in the region.

The Wage Order will not be effective by June 3, 2022, in contrast to what was published by some media outlets, it added.

On Thursday, May 12, the RTWPB-6 approved the new salary rates for minimum wage workers in the region.

Under Wage Order No. 26, commercial and industrial or non-agricultural workers will be receiving P450 per day or an increase of P55 from the existing rate of P395 per day.

For those working in the establishments employing 10 workers or less, the approved wage increase is P110 per day. This means that from P310, the daily minimum wage in this category will be P420.

For the agricultural sector, workers will receive a P95 per day increase. So from the existing rate of P315, the new rate is P410 per day.

Wennie Sancho, labor representative to the RTPWB-6, told SunStar Bacolod Wednesday that the new Wage Order was already affirmed and approved by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC).

Sancho, however, said he does not know yet when the order will be published.

"As one of the labor representatives in the Regional Wage Board, I am confident that with the affirmation of Wage Order No. 26 by the NWPC it is good as approved, the publication is only a matter of time," he said, adding that the appeal of any party cannot operate to stay the implementation of the Wage Order.

Under Section 5 of Rule IV of the Omnibus Rules on Minimum Wage Determination under NWPC Guidelines No. 3 Series of 2020, after the Wage Order has been reviewed by the commission, the Board may now cause its publication.

A Wage Order shall take effect after 15 days from its publication in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the region, it added.

Section 6 of the said guidelines stated that a Wage Order is not subject to a Motion for Reconsideration but may be appealed to the NWPC within 10 days from the date of its publication.

Under Section 1 of Rule V of the Omnibus Rules, meanwhile, an appeal may be taken from a Wage Order issued by the Board by filing a verified memorandum of appeal to the commission within a non-extendible period of 10 days from the date of publication, stating the ground relied upon, the arguments in support thereof, and the relief being sought.

Calling it "bad timing and horrible", a local business leader said they are eyeing a possible temporary restraining order (TRO) against the impending implementation of the wage hike in the region.

Frank Carbon, vice president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) for the Visayas, said the move is to avoid irreparable damage to the small businesses and recovery efforts in the region.

Carbon, is also the chief executive officer of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), said that small businesses may not be able to open up anymore. Also, it will damage the recovery efforts for Western Visayas, particularly to be able to recover economically this year.

"If we cannot hold it locally, or in the NWPC, then we are thinking of possible TRO to protect the businesses and our economic recovery in Region 6," he added.

Though they respect the possible legal move of the employers, the labor representative to the RTWPB-6 asserted the prohibition on injunction.

Citing Section 5 of implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the previous Wage Orders, Sancho said no preliminary or permanent injunction or TRO maybe issued by any court tribunal or other entity against the proceeding before the Board under Article 126 of the Labor Code.

"For me, if they are aggrieved by the Wage Order, they can file a petition or opposition to the NWPC," he said, adding that "this is a wage order and this should be resolved by the commission."