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MANILA, Philippines – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) of Calabarzon issued a new wage order granting increases of P35 to P89 daily for minimum wage earners in private establishments in the region, depending on the area.
Wage Order No. IVA-20, dated Friday, September 8, makes the new daily minimum wages in the region P385 to P520 for non-agriculture workers, P385 to P479 for agriculture workers, and P385 for retail and service establishments employing less than 10 workers.
The new minimum wages are set to take effect on September 24.
Calabarzon or Region 4-A covers the southern Tagalog provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.
Agriculture workers in the city of Carmona in Cavite, and city of Calaca in Batangas, because of "triggering area reclassification," will get a special P89-increase that matches the P479-wage of minimum wage earners in other component cities, the RTWPB said.
As for the retail and service industry, all workers, regardless of whether they are from the Extended Metropolitan Area, component cities, and all classes of municipalities, will get a P35 increase on their present P350 minimum wage, making the new daily minimum wage P385.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment, the wage order is expected to directly benefit 719,704 minimum wage earners in Calabarzon, and around 1.6 million full-time wage and salary workers earning above minimum "may also indirectly benefit as a result of upward adjustments at the enterprise level arising from the correction of wage distortion."
In a statement on Friday, labor group Federation of Free Workers (FFW) welcomed the increase as a "small victory" that would "immediately affect" the livelihood of workers in the region.
"Bagamat tinatanggap natin ang pag-angat na ito sa sahod, hindi pa ito sapat upang lubos na matustusan ang pangangailangan ng isang pamilya sa kasalukuyang kalagayan ng ekonomiya," said FFW Women Network Vice President Arta Maines, who is also president of the United Cirtek Electronic Employees' Association in Laguna.
(While we welcome the wage hike, this is still not enough to satisfy the needs of a family in the current economic situation.)
Similarly, labor group Kapatiran ng mga Unyon at Samahang Manggagawa said that the wage order did not meet the demands for wage recovery and living wage of the petitioners in the region, which ranged from P100 to P750 a day.
"Kulang ang umentong ito kahit para sa isang kilong bigas sa isang araw at ni hindi makababawi sa nawala na at patuloy pang nawawalang halaga ng sahod ng manggagawa sa rehiyon. Sa kabila ng increase, ang tunay na halaga ng minimum wage ngayon sa Region 4-A ay P428.80 lamang,” said Kapatiran Chair Rey Almendras.
(This increase is not enough for one kilo of rice in a day, and it will not make up for the diminishing value of the salaries of the workers in the region. Despite the increase, the real wage value of the minimum wage in Region 4-A is only P428.80.)
FFW board member Vilma Garcia, who is also a member of the De La Salle Health and Science Institute Employees Union in Dasmariñas, said: "Ang ating layunin ay ang makamit ang itinadhana sa Konstitusyon na living wage na nagbibigay-dignidad at seguridad sa aspeto ng pinansyal para sa ating mga manggagawa."
(Our goal is to reach the constitutionally provided living wage that provides dignity and financial security to our workers.)
Garcia added that the group would continue to organize unions, participate in collective bargaining, and lobby for an across-the-board increase of P150 in the whole country.
In March, labor coalition Worker's Initiative for Wage Increase appealed for the Calabarzon wage board to increase the daily minimum wage to P750, according to a BusinessWorld report. Citing data from the IBON Foundation, the coalition said the daily minimum living wage in Calabarzon for a family of five should at least be P1,087. – Rappler.com