BANGUED, Abra – “Is there a need to increase wages for minimum wage earners in the Cordillera?”
This was the question during public hearing on minimum wage adjustment for private sector workers and domestic workers in the Cordillera Region held in the province recently.
The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-Cordillera (RTWPB) led by the Department of Labor and Employment with partners held the forum for dialogue and get feedback from Abrenian business owners and employers on the proposed wage adjustment in the region.
“Year and year out, we come, kinakausap namin kayo. Actually, hindi masyadong na-e-emphasize na ito kasi alam na natin ang sagot. Karamihan magsasabi kailangan itaas ang sahod because pumunta ka lang sa palengke makikita mo na ‘yung nagtataasang presyo ng bilihin,” said DOLE-Cordillera Director Nathaniel Lacambra.
He, however, said there should still be a balance between the interest of the labor sector and the employers to avoid negative economic effects including price inflation and reduced labor, among other factors.
“We often than not go for votes because we seldom come at a consensus which is understandable because of the opposing interests of our sectors, that’s why we have government in the Board para ma-balance ‘yung economic equation of labor and management,” he said.
During the activity, the Philippine Statistics Authority also presented the regional and provincial situation in terms of price statistics, labor and employment and labor productivity, and the daily minimum wage and the average family monthly income.
PSA Senior Statistical Specialist Bettina Joy Bermillo reported the monthly minimum salary (26 days) and the monthly average poverty threshold (for a family of five) which is the minimum income needed enough to live in a particular area.
In the Cordillera, with the current minimum daily basic wage of P400, the monthly minimum salary is P10,400, which is much lower than the monthly average poverty threshold of P11,793.
Bermillo added the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Abra particularly the food commodity group, has increased from 115.1 in July to 119.5 in August.
The CPI is a measure of price change over time of goods or services that consumers experience, and a higher CPI indicates higher inflation. The increasing prices of goods in turn affects the purchasing power of the peso.
“Diay one peso idi 2018, 83 cents laeng ti balor na. That is the effect of the continuous increase of prices so as time goes by, bumaba ti balor ti kwarta tayo,” she said.
Other socio-economic updates such as the price trends of basic necessities and prime commodities, were also tackled by the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, and the local government unit.
A workshop and open forum on the issue on wage adjustment was also conducted as part of the event, the first of a series of hearings to be conducted in the provinces of the Cordillera. – Jamie Joie Malingan