BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB0CAR) explained that only those daily wage earners receiving the minimum wage in the region will be covered by whatever adjustments to be made by the board in the prevailing minimum wage in the region after the conduct of massive consultations with the affected sectors.
RTWPB-CAR Board Secretary Augusto Aquillo said the answer to the numerous queries on why is the adjustment only applicable to minimum wage earners is that it is defined under the provisions of Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act of 1989 together with the Guidelines on Wage Fixing.
He added the law provides a limited authority or mandate on the wage fixing function of RTWPB which is only for the fixing or adjusting the level of minimum wage rates prevailing in the region, and nothing more.
The RTWPB-CAR official underscored once adjusted, increased, then it shall become the minimum, the lowest wage rates that the employers are to pay their workers, citing no workers shall be paid lower that the adjusted minimum wage rates.
However, Aquillo emphasized that employers are not barred from giving their employees wages above the prevailing minimum wage because what is prohibited by RA 6727 is paying the workers a salary lower than the prevailing minimum wage rates.
Aquillo noted the wage rates set are the lowest amounts payable to workers. It does not mean that they are the exact amounts the employers are to pay their workers.
He claimed employers are free to give their workers higher wages, especially if the business can afford to pay the workers because of their skills, qualifications and length of service, thus they ought to receive a higher pay.
Aquillo explained the Supreme Court already ruled that a wage order issued by the RTWPB shall apply and cover minimum wage earners only and not those employees receiving more than the prevailing minimum wage rates.
Earlier, the RTWPB-CAR passed Resolution No. 3, series of 2016 motu proprio wage review and conduct of public consultations and hearings for possible minimum wage adjustments in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
RA 6727, otherwise known as the Wage Rationalization Act, empowers the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) to determine and fix minimum wage rates applicable in the regions and to issue the corresponding Wage Orders subject to the guidelines issued by the National Wages and Productivity Commission, in particular NWPC Guidelines No. 01 of 2007 and No. 02 of 2012;
Subsequently Congress also enacted RA 10361, also known as Batas Kasambahay, Section 24 of which sets the minimum wage rates of domestic helpers nationwide and mandates all RTWPBs to review and if warranted, adjust their wage rates on a yearly basis;
In 2015 and based on the aforementioned laws and guidelines, RTWPB-CAR issued two Wage Orders namely; Wage Order RB-CAR-17 for the formal sector workers and Wage Order CAR-DW-01 for the domestic helpers employed in the region.