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Board approves P33 hike in daily wages in Central Visayas

Board approves P33 hike in daily wages in Central Visayas

A REGIONAL wage board has approved a P33 hike in the daily minimum wages of private sector workers in Central Visayas, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said on Wednesday.

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Region VII issued a wage order on Sept. 5 that will provide a 7.6% to 8.6% increase in the region’s daily minimum wages. The pay hike will take effect in the Central Visayas Region on Oct. 1.

DoLE said in a statement that around 346,946 minimum wage workers will directly benefit from the wage increase, while 399,572 employees earning above minimum wage will also benefit as companies are expected to correct the wage distortion.

Nonagriculture workers in Class A areas will see their minimum wage increase to P468 from the current P435, while those in Class B will see wages go up to P430 from P397. Workers in Class C areas will receive a minimum wage of P420 from P387.

Meanwhile, workers in agriculture and nonagriculture establishments with less than 10 workers living in Class A areas will receive a daily wage of P458 from the current P425. Workers in Class B areas will get a daily wage of P425 from P392, while those in Class C will receive a minimum wage of P415 from P382.

Class A covers the cities of Carcar, Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga; including municipalities of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Lilo-an, Minglanilla and San Fernando. 

Class B areas include the cities of Bais, Bayawan, Bogo, Canlaon, Dumaguete, Guihulngan, Tagbiliran, Talisay, Tanjay and Toledo.

Class C is composed of the rest of the region’s municipalities not clustered under the previous two classifications.

The Central Visayas Region is considered as a major transportation hub as it is home to the Mactan Cebu International Airport, the country’s second-busiest airport next to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Cebu City-based labor groups earlier sought a more substantial across-the-board increase of P292.50 to the region’s daily minimum wages.

Last year, the Central Visayas wage board implemented a P31 increase for all private sector workers, which took effect on June 14, 2022. Wage boards can only act on wage petitions a year after a region’s last wage order.

On Sept. 5, the wage board in Region IV-A (Calabarzon) approved increases, ranging from P35 to P50, to the daily minimum wages of workers in the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (Calabarzon) provinces.

The higher daily minimum wage will take effect in Calabarzon on Sept. 24, DoLE said.

In March, the Worker’s Initiative for Wage Increase (Win for Win) filed a petition asking the Calabarzon wage board to increase the region’s daily minimum wage to P750 to help workers cope with the soaring prices of basic goods. 

The National Capital Region Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board on June 29 approved a P40 increase in the daily minimum wage, bringing the daily minimum wage to P610 a day from P570 for those in nonagriculture sectors.

This is much lower than what the Unity for Wage Increase Now’s petition sought for, a P570 increase that would bring Metro Manila’s daily minimum wage to P1,100.

Labor Undersecretary Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio in July said the regional wage boards of Central Luzon and Western Visayas are also likely to decide on pending wage petitions this month.

The Central Luzon Workers for Wage Increase in June asked the Central Luzon RTWPB for a P640 increase to the current P460 daily minimum pay.

In March, Iloilo City trade unions sought a P100 increase in the daily minimum pay for private workers in Western Visayas.

Under the Labor Code, wage boards must consider the demand for a living wage, wage adjustment in the consumer price index, the changes in the cost of living in the region, and the needs of workers and their families among others.

Labor groups have called for legislated wage increases and for  lawmakers to review the existing regional setting system, saying the  meager wage increases will not help workers.

In March, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri filed a bill that seeks to increase wages of all workers by P150.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines has said a legislated wage hike should also consider workers in less formal employment, noting that private sector workers only make up 16% of the labor force. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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Board approves minimum wage hike for Calabarzon

Board approves minimum wage hike for Calabarzon

A REGIONAL wage board approved an increase in the daily minimum wages of workers in the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (Calabarzon) provinces, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said on Thursday.

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Board in Region IV-A (Calabarzon) issued a wage order which provides a 9-11% increase from the current daily minimum wage rates, ranging from P35 to P50 depending on the geographical area and labor sector.

The higher daily minimum wage will take effect in Calabarzon on Sept. 24, the DoLE said.

Around 719,704 minimum wage earners in the region, which is considered a major manufacturing hub, are expected to benefit from the increase.

For non-agriculture workers, the daily minimum wage will increase to P520 for those in the extended metropolitan area, and P479 for those working in component cities and first-class municipalities.

Non-agriculture workers in second- and third-class municipalities will now receive P425 a day, while those in the fourth, fifth and sixth municipalities will get a P385 daily wage.

For agriculture workers, the daily minimum wage will now be P479 for those in the extended metropolitan area and component cities, and P425 for first-class municipalities. The daily wage for agriculture workers in the second- to sixth-class municipalities will increase to P385.

Meanwhile, the daily wage for workers in retail and service establishments with not more than 10 workers will increase to P385 from the current P350.

Agricultural workers in the new cities of Calaca, Batangas, and Carmona, Cavite will receive a P89 increase in their daily minimum pay after being converted from first-class municipalities to cities.

The DoLE said the Calabarzon wage board’s order was submitted to the National Wages and Productivity Commission on Sept. 4 and was affirmed by the body on Sept. 5.

“The (wage) increase… resulted from several petitions filed by various labor groups seeking an increase in the daily minimum wage due to escalating prices of basic goods and commodities,” the DoLE said.

The Labor department said about 1.6 million workers earning above minimum wage may also indirectly benefit from the wage adjustment, as companies will correct the wage distortion.

However, the approved wage hike is significantly lower than the petitions filed by various labor groups.

For instance, the Worker’s Initiative for Wage Increase (Win for Win) in March filed a petition asking the Calabarzon wage board to increase the region’s daily minimum wage to P750 to help workers cope with soaring prices of basic goods.

The group sought wage hikes of P280, P321, P360 and P400 for the four wage classes in Calabarzon.

“The meager increase granted by the wage board in Calabarzon and even in the (National Capital Region) last few months only showed how futile the regional wage fixing mechanisms is in addressing the widening gap between workers’ wages and the cost of living,” Partido Manggagawa Chairman Renato B. Magtubo said in Viber message.

Josua T. Mata, secretary general of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, said the approved increase is not enough for workers to recover the diminished value of their wages.

“Clearly, it’s not a real wage increase,” he said in a Viber message. “Indeed, the regional wage-setting mechanisms that we have never fails to disappoint the workers.”

Mr. Magtubo called on Congress to fast-track deliberations on legislated wage hike proposals, which he said could help workers deal with the rising prices of basic commodities.

“It is also high time for Congress to take a serious look at the regional minimum wage fixing mechanism, which most labor groups in the country want to be reviewed or abolished,” Mr. Magtubo said.

In March, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri filed a bill that seeks to increase wages of all workers by P150.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma has said he would leave it to Congress to decide on legislated wage hike proposals. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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ACEN board clears investment in 335-MW onshore wind farm project

ACEN Corp.’s board has given the green light for the Ayala-led company to invest in a 335-megawatt (MW) onshore wind power project after its subsidiary won in a government auction for renewable energy (RE) capacity.

In a stock exchange disclosure on Tuesday, the company said its unit Giga Ace 6, Inc. had been recently awarded for its successful bid for the second round of the Department of Energy’s green energy auction (GEA-2).

ACEN said its board on Sept. 4 approved the company’s procurement of a performance bond for the benefit of its subsidiary “to enable the latter’s compliance with the requirements of GEA-2.”

The government’s green energy auction program is a competitive process of procuring RE supply by offering capacities to qualified bidders at a set maximum or ceiling price.

Based on the Energy department’s list of winning bidders, Giga Ace won the bid for its Isla wind power project located in the provinces of Laguna and Quezon with an offered capacity of 230 MW for P5.79 per kilowatt-hour.

The wind project’s operation is set to start on Dec. 24, 2026.

ACEN did not disclose more details on the amount of investment and timeline of the operations.

Under GEA-2, which was conducted on July 3, successful bids reached an equivalent of 3,440 MW, or below the 11,600-MW offered capacity.

Earlier, ACEN said that it expects to ramp up its RE expansion after raising P25 billion from a perpetual preferred share offering under the first tranche of its shelf registration of up to 50 million preferred shares.

Currently, ACEN has approximately 4,200 MW of attributable capacity spanning the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Australia.

The energy company aspires to become the largest listed RE platform in Southeast Asia with a target portfolio of 20 gigawatts by 2030.

The existing capacity attributable to the company has a renewable share of 98%, the company said, claiming the figure to be among the highest in the region.

At the stock exchange on Tuesday, shares in ACEN slipped by four centavos or 0.78% to close at P5.06 apiece. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

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New Monetary Board appointments welcomed

New Monetary Board appointments welcomed

THE NEW Monetary Board members are expected to uphold the Philippine central bank’s priorities in keeping price and financial stability, market players said.

The Presidential Communications Office on Saturday announced National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon and former Finance undersecretary Romeo L. Bernardo as the new members of the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“They are both qualified given their extensive background in the industry and are highly regarded by their peers,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.   

“The Monetary Board should maintain its priorities by combatting inflation, keeping the peso competitive, strengthening the banking system among others as it makes sure the interests of all Filipinos are kept in mind,” he added.   

The appointment of Ms. De Leon and Mr. Bernardo will bring the current number of Monetary Board members to six. President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has yet to announce the seventh member of the Monetary Board.

The board is chaired by BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr., and members include Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Bruce J. Tolentino and Anita Linda R. Aquino.

Three seats were vacated by former BSP governor Felipe M. Medalla, Antonio S. Abacan, Jr. and Peter B. Favila whose terms expired in July.

China Bank Capital Corp. Managing Director Juan Paolo E. Colet said Ms. De Leon and Mr. Bernardo are widely respected in the banking industry and will bring in a lot of value to monetary policy.

“Ms. De Leon and Mr. Bernardo are impressive additions to the Monetary Board given their extensive financial sector expertise, market knowledge, and policy experience,” Mr. Colet said in a Viber message.

In July last year, Ms. De Leon was reappointed as the Treasurer of the Philippines for the third time.

Ms. De Leon told reporters in a Viber message late on Saturday that she is not yet “signing off” as the country’s national treasurer and will still lead the coming auctions.   

She also assumed key positions in the Department of Finance (DoF), such as undersecretary for the International Finance Group (IFG) from July 2007 to November 2012, chief of staff from July 2005 to June 2010, as well as director for the IFG from September 1995 to August 1998.

She also served as the alternate executive director at the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., and held the position of advisor to the executive director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) from August 1998 to August 2004.

Ms. De Leon obtained her Master of Arts in Development Economics from Williams College in Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bernardo served as an undersecretary of the DoF and alternate executive director of ADB. He was also an advisor of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He is a member of the Philippine World Bank Advisory Group and the Panel of Conciliators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

Mr. Bernardo is also the managing director of Lazaro Bernardo Tiu and Associates and an analyst for the Philippines at GlobalSource Partners.

“The immediate and primary priorities are reducing inflation and maintaining foreign exchange stability,” Mr. Colet said.   

“Eventually, the Monetary Board would have to make a timely call on when to start recalibrating interest rates and cutting bank reserve requirements to ensure that, at the very least, the economy has a soft landing,” he added.

Mr. Remolona earlier said that policy easing is not on the radar this year as inflation remains above the 2-4% target.   

The Monetary Board will next meet on Sept. 21 to discuss policy. — Keisha B. Ta-asan

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