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Cebu News

Group says of P31 wage hike: ‘Insult to workers’

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) has described the P31 wage increase for minimum earners in Central Visayas as an “insult to workers.”

“Buot ipasabot sa atong wage board, mas barato diay ang palaliton diri sa Cebu kumpara sa Western Visayas? Dako kini nga insulto sa mga mamumuo nga nakahibaw sa tinuod nga presyo ug sa ka mahal sa mga palaliton diri sa rehiyon nga dili na paigo ang minimum wage,” said Jaime Paglinawan, chairperson of AMA Sugbo-KMU.

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-7 in Western Visayas granted a P55 increase.

Atty. Nora Analyn Demeterio-Diego, vice president of ALU-TUCP-7, told dyLA in an earlier interview that she herself signed the resolution for the P31 increase with reservation.

“I agree with the increase… as of the amount, it should have been higher gyud unta. Ni-sign ko sa resolution with reservation,” Diego said.

Aside from the P31 raise, the wage board also approved a P500 increase in wage per month for domestic workers in Region 7.

Raise in Region 7

On May 24, 2022, RTWPB-7 approved the P31 increase for Central Visayas. The board said it is the highest wage hike in the region for minimum wage earners since 1989 a P25 wage hike was approved.

Undersecretary and DOLE-7 concurrent head Victor Del Rosario, the chairperson of RTWPB-7, said the P31 increase shall be applied to all existing minimum wage rates in the region both in the agriculture and non-agriculture sectors.

“The Php31.00 increase is by far the highest in Region-7 since 1989… The last Wage Order, No. ROVII-21, which took effect last 5 January 2020, only provided an Php18.00 increase across all classifications,” Del Rosario said.

He said the board scrutinized thoroughly and deliberated religiously all petitions for wage hikes filed while taking carefully all relevant factors into consideration, including existing conditions and industries in different provinces.

“With all of that, we’re able to arrive at this particular consensus,” he said.

“Despite the crisis particularly the pandemic that wreaked havoc among us, the Board managed to come up with a decision, which we fervently hope is as nearly adequate as is economically feasible to maintain the minimum standards of living necessary for the health, efficiency and general well-being of the workers,” Del Rosario said.

With the P31 increase, the salary of minimum wage workers under Class A will now be P435 daily, P397 for workers under Class B, and P387 for workers under Class C.

The wage order was forwarded to the National Wage Productivity Board for review. The national board is expected to give its feedback on May 26.

The new wage order would then be published in a newspaper of general circulation and will take effect 15 days after publication.

Tax Amnesty

At Cebu City Hall, Mayor Michael Rama said the city will look into the possibility of a tax amnesty, this time, to help businesses, following the wage hike.

This needs to be studied thoroughly, Rama said, as he does not want it to affect services to the people.

“Tax amnesty… we'll take a look at it because any tax amnesty also affects services,” Rama said.

“If tax amnesty will be extended, then budget of the government will also be reduced. And once the budget is reduced, then services will also be a part as a consequence that will also be affected,” he said.

A tax amnesty can be defined as a limited-time offer by the government to a specified group of taxpayers to pay a defined amount, in exchange for forgiveness of a tax liability (including interest and penalties), relating to a previous tax period(s), as well as freedom from legal prosecution.

Rama said he understands the mixed reactions on the P31 wage hike.

“The most important thing… I am pleading that employers may be able to absorb and ‘utong,’ then let's all help as one country with the new President, the Vice President, and new secretaries… I am pretty sure that economy is really a focus that this present administration will be tackling,” Rama said.

P750 minimum wage

Meanwhile, AMA Sugbo-KMU is also pushing for the P750 national minimum wage, which was proposed by the Alyansa sa mga Mamumuong Kontraktwal sa Sugbo (ALSA Kontraktwal Cebu) last March.

Paglinawan said they believe that the P750 national minimum wage will give the workers a living wage that would allow them to live a life of dignity.

“Dapat ang P750 national minimum wage nga dugay ra gipanawagan sa mga mamumuo ang dunggon sa mga awtoridad, dili ang yangungo sa mga dagkong negosyante,” Paglinawan said.

AMA-Sugbo-KMI further said that the longstanding call for the P750 national minimum wage should have been the call that the authorities listened to, and not the interests of big businesses. – JMO (FREEMAN)

WAGE HIKE

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