By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Anakpawis-Cordillera Regional Coordinator Michael Cabangon criticized wage order RB-CAR 15 of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board of the Department of Labor and Employment-Cordillera Administrative Region (RTWPB-DOLE-CAR) last May 18 granting an P8.00 increase in the region’s minimum wage.
Cabangon reiterated that the increase is so small that the workers will actually not feel it as the prices of basic goods and commodities continue to rise. He said that workers who are sending their children to school are also burdened by tuition hikes.
He added that there is no significant increase under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III just like his predecessors. He said that the wage orders in the region and elsewhere are made favoring the big businesses and are not being based on the actual daily needs of a worker and his family. He said that the latest wage order is a sign of insensitivity to the real economic situation of the workers.
With the said increase the minimum wage for non-agricultural workers in Baguio City and municipalities La-Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan and Tuba of Benguet Province should be P280 per day and P262 for those in the agriculture sector. For the rest of the region (Mountain Province, Abra, Ifugao, Kalinga and Apayao), the minimum wage for non-agricultural workers is now P263 and P246 for agriculture workers.
The said wage order maintains the P37 Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) provided under Wage Order RB-CAR No. 14.
Cabangon said that the workers of the Cordillera like the rest of the workers of the country are still longing for the passage of House Bill 375 that seeks for a legislated P125 wage increase nationwide pending in congress. He said that the demand for a P125 wage hike started in August of 1999. He added that it was first filed in congress by the late Crispin Beltran then of Bayan Muna Partylist in 2001 and was refiled by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano as HB 375 in 2008.
He said that while they are calling for a P125 wage hike across the board in the country, they are also calling for the abolition of regional wage boards. He said that wage increases should be done nationwide and not according to regions. “And the workers do not need petty increases as the price hikes of basic commodities are incessant,” said Cabangon.
According to Cabangon, they are also calling for the passage of the anti-contractualization bill or House Bill 5110 authored by Mariano. He explained that the bill seeks for the regular employment of Filipino workers and ensure their security of tenure. # nordis.net