Most employers in Palawan are compliant with the minimum wage law, according to the monitoring results conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
According to former provincial director Luis Evangelista, only a “very minimal” number of establishments are not paying the mandated minimum wage of P320.
During the height of the pandemic, the labor department temporarily halted routine inspections to assess the situation of businesses, but also clarified that there is no law stating that the virus can be used as an excuse to avoid paying the minimum wage.
“Hindi naman ibig sabihin na pinapabayaan na ng department of labor or pikit-mata na lang tinatanggap na hindi nagpapasahod nang tama. Ngayong nag-resume na ang inspection, so far, based doon sa latest report ng mga labor inspector namin dito sa Palawan ay nasa 94 percent or more pa ang compliant sa tinatawag natin na general labor standards,” Evangelista said.
“Very minimal sa mga napuntahan na mga establisyemento na hindi umaabot sa required na compliance sa minimum wage. Pero at the same time, doon pa lang sa time na ‘yon nagko-comply naman ang mga establisyemento. Minsan may nangyayari kasi na ang naiisip, akala raw kasi nila dahil pandemic ay pupwede na magbawas ng sahod, hindi,” he added.
Regional director Naomi Lyn Abellana, meanwhile, explained that there is a regionalization of wage because of the indicators to consider in every region. Public consultation is one of the processes to be undertaken to determine the need for wage adjustment and the increase needed.
Abellana stressed that MIMAROPA region has a different economy compared to Manila which makes aligning the minimum wage of the two areas difficult.
“As to determination of the wages or the minimum wage, tinitingnan mo ang maraming aspeto sa ekonomiya. Agriculture, isa ‘yan, the industry, service sector, boses ng mga mangagawa, boses ng entrepreneurs pati boses ng informal sectors ay kinukuha natin, pati sa kasambahay. Kaya ‘yong pag-determine ng minimum wage, we just couldn’t say ‘couldn’t we have wage just like that of Manila?’ No, because Manila has a different economy compared to us here in MIMAROPA,” Abellana said.
“We cannot just compete and compare the situation kaya before the minimum wage is being determined, ang daming consultation ang ginagawa natin to hear everybody’s voices, not just the voice the government. The wage should be fair to all, fair to the workers, employers and most specifically, fair to informal sector,” she added.
The MIMAROPA Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board is also set to conduct the second and third hearing on mimum wage adjustment on May 11 and May 18, with the latter to be conducted in Puerto Princesa City.
DOLE added that the department cannot also dictate what is the ideal minimum wage as it stressed the need to for employees to exercise the rights to the fullest in asking or bargaining for higher terms and conditions which includes salary increase.
The increase of minimum wage is not the only basis to increase the salary of the employee but also with collective bargaining and negotiations with employers.
“Ito ay isang proseso ng Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board sa pag-determine kung magkano at kinakailangan, magkano ang magiging wage increase. Nais namin ipaabot sa mga tao – nababasa naman natin sa mga reklamo ng mga tao na ang tagal na bakit ang DOLE hindi nagtataas ng pasahod. Gusto lang namin ipaalam na hindi lang si DOLE ang may obligasyon na mag-determine ng pagtaas ng sahod,” Evangelista said.
Meanwhile, Philip Ruga has assumed the post as the Palawan provincial director concurrent as MIMAROPA’s Technical Support Services Division chief last Monday, May 2, replacing Evangelista who was transferred to the regional office. His official designation has yet to be determined.