Daily wage earners in the Cordillera started enjoying the additional P20 increase in their minimum wage starting January 1, 2023.
Under Wage order No. CAR-21 promulgated last year, the second tranche of the increase in the minimum wage of daily wage earners in the private sector in the region amounting to P20 shall be effective on January 1, 2023 thereby bringing the prevailing minimum wage in the region to P400.
Earlier, effective July 1, 2022, the P350 minimum wage in Baguio, La Trinidad and Tabuk will be increased to P380 daily while the P340 minimum wage in other areas in the region will be increased to P380 daily.
The wage order stated that the new minimum wage rate shall be for the normal working hours which shall not exceed 8 hours of work daily.
Further, the wage increase shall apply to all minimum wage earners in the private sector in the region, regardless of their position, designation or status and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid by their employers.
Among the establishments that may apply for exemption from the implementation of the said wage order include retail/service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers and establishments adversely affected by natural calamities and/or human-induced disasters.
The wage order provided that any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity who refuses or fails to pay the prescribed increase shall be dealt with pursuant to the provisions of Section 12 of Republic Act (RA) 6727 as amended by RA 8188.
The Cordillera office of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB-CAR) stated in the said wage order that upon prudent consideration of the positions of labor and management, as well as the prevailing minimum wage levels in neighboring regions, the principle of wage simplification, and after thorough review and evaluation of the existing socio-economic conditions in the region, several findings were established such as the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of the Cordillera improved in 2021 with a growth rate of 7.5 percent; the consumer price index (CPI) in the region was at 103.3 in November 2019 and rose to 113.6 in April 2022; the poverty threshold based on the latest available data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for an average family size of 5 in the first semester of 2021 in the amount of P384 per day and other relevant data available to the board.
In determining the propriety of adjusting the current minimum wage rates in the region, the board had to consider the various criteria under RA 6727 as well as the guidelines on the two-tiered wage system.
Earlier, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) filed a petition on May 16, 2022 praying for a P410 wage hike for all minimum wage earners in the cordillera following the heavy impact inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic to the economic activities of the people over the past 2 years.
The board unanimously agreed to treat the said petition as a position paper considering that at the time the same was filed, the board had already initiated motu proprio wage review and all scheduled public hearings had already been conducted regionwide.