CEBU CITY – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-Central Visayas (RTWPB-7) will consider the economic conditions in deciding on petitions for salary adjustments for minimum wage earners, the body’s regional board chairman said Monday.
Undersecretary Victor del Rosario of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) cited the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the effects of Typhoon Odette, and the current fuel crisis brought by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as the factors to be studied in deciding wage adjustments.
Del Rosario concurrently sits as regional director of the agency and an ex-officio chair of the RTWPB-7.
“By virtue of the petitions filed, the wheels of the wage-fixing process are set in motion. Prior to the public hearings, the board members have taken the initial steps of studying the economic situation of the region, taking note of the effects of the events I have earlier mentioned in the shaping of the region’s economic landscape,” he said in his speech during the board’s public hearing in Bohol.
He said that while the residents in the region are still reeling from the effects of quarantine restrictions and lockdowns as well as the devastating effect of the Dec. 16, 2021 typhoon, “we are faced with yet another challenge, the rising and fluctuating cost of fuel and other prices as effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict”.
To see the real situation in Bohol while the province is still under the Covid-19 Alert Level 2, the regional board members visited Tagbilaran City to listen to petitions and positions of both the workers and employers.
The labor official urged both sectors to “take this opportunity to be heard and make a stand” on petitions for an increase in wages.
“I assure you that everything will be taken into consideration and at all times, in making our decisions, we will be guided by our mandate of promoting and balancing the interest of both management and labor,” he added.
Bohol is still covered by Wage Order No. 22 which took effect on Jan. 5, 2020 and elevated Tagbilaran City to “C” classification with a minimum wage of PHP366 for non-agricultural workers and PHP361 for agricultural workers and those who are working in establishments with less than 10 employees.
The Bohol Alliance of Labor Organization, through its representative, Bernardo Bihag filed a petition with the RTWPB-7 asking for a PHP120 across the board increase in the province’s minimum wage earners.
Bihag also demanded to equalize the minimum wage in Region 7, saying that prices of basic goods in Cebu and Bohol are almost the same.
However, tourism players in Bohol expressed their objection to any wage adjustment.
Anda Bohol Tourism Organization representative Fred Camacho said they have not even received assistance from the government, and orders increasing the pay of their workers will result in the closure of resorts and shops. (PNA)