A hearing that would determine whether or not the Regional Trial Court Branch 48 in Tagbilaran City will issue a writ of preliminary injunction against the implementation of a P28 minimum wage hike in the city is set tomorrow.
The proceedings stemmed from a petition filed by the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (BCCI) and the Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants (BAHRR) questioning the reclassification of Tagbilaran to a Class B locality from Class C which raised the supposed minimum pay increase in the city from P18 to P28.
The petitioners through their lead counsel, Atty. Lord Marapao V, challenged the reclassification noting that it was not discussed during the multi-city public hearings conducted by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB) 7 prior to its approval of the wage hike.
However, RTWPB 7 secretary Grace Carreon said that the issue on reclassification was raised by labor groups during open fora in Dumaguete City and Tagbilaran.
Department of Labor and Employment 7 director Salome Siaton also confirmed this.
“I can recall because I was in Dumaguete when this was raised and also in Bohol, part of the minutes ng consultation nandoon din, one of the workers raised the classification. This is part of the minutes which we have also sent to Manila,” Siaton said in a press briefing in Cebu.
According to Carreon, labor groups have pointed out that minimum wage in municipalities have been the same with that of cities despite the latter being more economically advanced.
“Lain-lain man ang condition. For example sa Tagbilaran, the same ra ang salary for example sa pinaka [underdeveloped] na municipality sa Bohol, mao man ni gi-raise sa mga labor group,” she said.
Labor groups also brought up that there has been apparent development in Tagbilaran since the city was last classified as a Class C area.
Wage Order No. ROVII-22 which was supposedly to take effect on January 5 reclassified Tagbilaran under Class B areas causing the wage hike for the city to increase from P18 to P28.
Tagbilaran used to be classified under Class C areas along with the rest of Bohol, but all Central Visayas cities outside of Metro Cebu were reclassified under Class B while all cities in Metro Cebu were classified as Class A areas.
According to Carreon, no other business group in other cities which were reclassified have challenged the wage order.
The BCCI and BAHRR clarified they are not against the imposition of a wage adjustment as they only questioned the reclassification of Tagbilaran.
The duo’s petition has led to the issuance of a status quo order by the RTC 48 pending the decision on the case, causing minimum wage to be maintained despite the wage order’s supposed implementation on January 5.
It was however unclear whether the order covered only Tagbilaran City, the entire Bohol or Central Visayas.