CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro – All private sector employees in this region are expected to live above the accepted poverty threshold after a PHP40 per day wage hike takes effect on Dec. 7.
In an interview on Tuesday, Naomi Lyn Abellana, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Mimaropa, said latest studies placed the poverty threshold in the five-province region at PHP367 per day.
She said the same DOLE study served as the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board’s (RTWPB) basis for approving the PHP40 per day across-the-board salary increase for minimum wage earners.
The latest wage order increases the salaries of minimum wage earners in companies employing 10 or more workers to PHP395 from PHP355 per day, while it also hikes the salary of minimum wage earners in companies employing a maximum of nine workers to PHP369 from PHP329 per day.
“As you can see, we managed to close the daily poverty threshold because workers in both small and large businesses will henceforth be earning more than PHP367 (per day). This is the barrier that had to be broken in order for the average employee here to afford basic necessities,” Abellana told the Philippine News Agency.
The same wage order will also raise the salaries of domestic helpers in Mimaropa to PHP5,500 from PHP4,500 monthly.
The latest salary adjustments have to wait until Dec. 7 because the DOLE has to go through the process of publishing the wage order.
Abellana said unlike their counterparts in the National Capital Region (NCR), where the minimum wage needed to be raised to PHP610 per day, workers in Mimaropa are able to live on less than PHP400 daily because food is cheaper in the multi-island region.
“Both Mindoro provinces (Oriental and Occidental) are major producers of rice in the country. We have an active fishing industry because Mimaropa is made up of several islands. We also produce a lot of onions. Only vegetables brought in from Baguio are relatively expensive here,” she said.
She noted that not a single labor union petitioned for a wage increase in Mimaropa this year, prompting the DOLE to convene the RTWPB for the purpose of wage hike hearings “motu propio” (on its own initiative).
However, Abellana, who also chairs the RTWPB, assured that both the employers and the labor sectors were well represented during the series of hearings, which were held separately in Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Romblon, Marinduque, and Palawan. (PNA)