Mayor Isko warns Divisoria stall owners to pay workers minimum wage, provide benefits

Published January 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Joseph Almer Pedrajas

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has given business owners in Divisoria until next month to settle their labor obligations with their workers, or face charges for violation of the law.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso (Manila Public Information Office / MANILA BULLETIN)
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso
(Manila Public Information Office / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Moreno particularly ordered tenants of malls in the area in a recent dialogue at the Manila City Hall to ensure that their salespersons were getting minimum wage and government-mandated benefits.

“Under the law you are required [to give them minimum wage and benefits]. We’re clear that after this talk, (there will be) implementation of rules,” Moreno told several business owners who met with him Monday.

“I will give you three weeks, the whole of January. Go on and register your employees as members of SSS [Social Security System], PAG-IBIG and PhilHealth. Pay ample amount,” he added.

Moreno’s order came following several claims made by sales personnel of several stores in Divisoria that they were only receiving P180 to no more than P300 as daily wage. Under the law, the minimum daily wage for workers in Metro Manila is P537.

In response, the business owners also lodged their issues with their workers, including the abusive and dishonest ones, and those who keep using their cellular phones while on the job, or those stealing from them.

But Moreno advised them to “just fire” these erring employees.

“If you’re going to say that they deserve P180 or P300 because of it, then you’re wrong. Don’t make it as an excuse. If you have incompetent employees, fire them. You have to put discipline to your business,” he said.

He also encouraged the business owners to document the abuse that their workers are committing for their protection should the latter file a complaint with the labor department.

The business owners also excused that they are providing free meals and lodging for their workers, who they mostly get from the province, so they could not give them minimum wage.

However, Moreno said that the public employment service office (PESO) of Manila could provide workers hailed from the city.

“I encourage you all to go to our PESO. We’ll help you hire your respective fees. Just fulfill your obligation,” he said.

On issues of increasing rental fees that hinder business owners from providing higher wage for their workers, Moreno told them that he will use his “persuasive power” on mall owners to convince them to lessen their fees, considering the lower realty tax that the local government had recently implemented.

“So, I think we will call the attention of the mall,” he said. “But I don’t want to give you false hope.”

Moreno believed that to prevent workers from always leaving their employers—which was also the issue of business owners—is to keep them happy and satisfied with their wage and workplace.

Recently, Moreno threatened to close a mall in Divisoria if the Chinese businessmen maintaining stores in the establishment would not implement proper payment of wages to Filipino workers.

“Don’t abuse, pay necessary salary, don’t cheat our fellow Filipino with the standard salary,” Domagoso told them.

Domagoso said foreign businessmen can freely sell their goods in the city, only if they comply with his orders, especially in implementing proper payment of wages to workers.