P33 wage hike in Central Visayas takes effect in 2 weeks

CEBU CITY – Establishments in Central Visayas were reminded to ensure that the new minimum wage increase will be implemented starting October 1.

Lilia Estillore, Department of Labor and Employment-Central Visayas (DOLE-7) director, said random inspections will be conducted in small, medium, and large establishments in the region following the approval of the P33 daily minimum wage increase.


LILIA Estillore (center), Department of Labor and Employment-Central Visayas director, discusses the recently approved wage hike in Central Visayas during a press conference on Monday, September 18. (Calvin D. Cordova)

Although the P33 increase is the highest in the history of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productive Board-Central Visayas (RTWPB-7), it is not actually enough for workers to cope with the increasing cost of living, said lawyer Analyn Demetrio-Diego, representative of the labor sector in the RTWPB-7.

“We understand the employer sector but to answer the question if the increase is enough, that’s still very difficult on the part of the labor. Although this is the biggest increase in the history of RTWB-7, our laborers will still be in a difficult situation,” said Diego in a press conference on Monday, September 18.

Diego said the P33 increase was far from what the labor sector expected.

She said there were three wage hike petitions that were filed – two sought for P100 and one asked for P292.

The management sector wanted a zero increase but the two sectors eventually agreed for the P33 increase.

Philip Tan, who represents the management board in the RTPWB-7, said any wage hike increase has to be carefully studied.

“Both labor and management, we made to understand each other’s needs. The need of course is there, to qualify the high cost of living, inflation, high cost of food. But we, in the management, tend to focus more on the survival of the businesses as a whole and the impact of whatever wage increase that will be granted,” Tan said.

Tan said the management sector was careful that the wage increase might cause inflation and that it may impact micro-small businesses.

“We have to be careful with the numbers because it might also translate into inflation. We’re very careful that the wage will not be too big. The wage increase will be useless because food prices or whatever services may also increase. That number is very crucial that it will temper inflation at the same time,” Tan said.

Estillore said it was a “unanimous decision” to implement another round of wage hikes.

“We hope that everyone – labor and management – will understand the decision. And I hope everyone will be happy that Region 7 was able to give a wage increase,” Estillore said.

The new wage increase is expected to directly benefit 346,946 minimum wage earners in Central Visayas while at least 399,572 other workers may indirectly benefit from adjustments.

Following the approval of the wage hike, there will be an increment in the daily minimum wage for non-agricultural establishments categorized from Class A to C where the adjusted wage structure will now range from P420 to P468.

For smaller businesses in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, the adjusted pay range will be from P415 to P458.

Smaller businesses, specifically those with fewer than 10 employees, can file for an exemption.