Pay increases in Northern, Central Mindanao pushed | Inquirer News

Pay increases in Northern, Central Mindanao pushed

/ 02:10 AM May 03, 2016

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The country’s largest trade union center is seeking increases in the daily wages of workers in Northern and Central Mindanao, saying rising prices of basic commodities and services have eroded their purchasing power.

In filing separate petitions in the wage boards of the two regions, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said that despite the gains in the economy and productivity, workers had not been granted a single peso in real wage increase since 1989.

The series of pay adjustments in the past “have been overtaken by increases in power and water rates, in health and education costs, the prices of oil and its products, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), and of basic goods and services,” said the moderate labor confederation which claims 1.2 million members nationwide.


Vicente Lao, chair of Mindanao Business Council, said the proposed wage increases might not be sustained and could lead to the closure of small businesses.


On Tuesday, the TUCP submitted a petition to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Northern Mindanao, calling for a P168 across-the-board wage increase to allow workers to cope with rising cost of living, meet their basic needs and “give meaning and substance to the country’s policy of equitable distribution of income and wealth.”

The region consists of the provinces of Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental. As of January 2015, local purchasing power was placed at P0.65 by the Philippine Statistics Authority, compared to P1 in May 2010, while consumer price index (2006=100) was 153.1 points.

The proposed adjustment would bring the daily wage to P486, which, it said, “would restore the purchasing power of the workers’ wage and to compensate their contribution to the improvement of the regional economy in particular and the entire country in general.”

Citing government figures, the TUCP noted that the purchasing power of the latest legislated P318 daily minimum wage in Northern Mindanao had an actual value of only P207.98.

Nicandro Borja, regional vice president of the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, said the present minimum salary was simply not enough for a worker and his family.

For workers in Central Mindanao, the labor group asked the regional wage board for a P148 adjustment in daily pay. It is also seeking a similar raise for wages in Southern Mindanao but did not disclose how much.


Central Mindanao covers the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, while Southern Mindanao has Compostela, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces.

“The government needs to issue a new wage order because the latest wage order (for Northern Mindanao) was still in 2014. There have been so many things that have impacted on the economy, but the wages of our small laborers have not moved,” said Loreto Cabaya Jr., TUCP board member for the region.

Estrella Pahalla, secretary of the wage board in Northern Mindanao, said the body was going to deliberate on the TUCP petition. “In most cases when there are petitions, these are being considered and acted upon,” she said.

Another labor center, the militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), said it was pushing for the abolition of the contractualization scheme, saying it was the “single biggest stumbling block” for the national government’s goal of achieving “inclusive growth.”

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“Contractualization is incoherent with his (President Aquino’s) social protection programs. The (2011 order of Labor Secretary Rosalina Baldoz that approved contractualization) allowed employers to evade mandatory benefits and bonuses for as long as manpower agencies register with the labor department and fulfill other flimsy requirements,” BMP chair Leody de Guzman said.

TAGS: Cotabato, Mindanao, pay increase, trade unions

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