Press Release
June 4, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today urged the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards to conduct public hearings on the possible grant of a new round of increase in the minimum daily wage even in regions where they have not received any formal petition for pay adjustment.

Pimentel made the suggestion after learning from officials of the Department of Labor and Employment that only the wage boards in the National Capitol Region, Southern Tagalog (Region 4), Central Luzon (Region 3) and Western Visayas (Region 6) are holding public hearings since these are only areas where labor groups have lodged petitions for wage hike.

He said it is wrong to assume that there is no need for wage increase just because no group or individual bothered to formally request a regional board to raise the minimum wage.

If there are no petitions, does that mean there will be no movement regarding the wages of employees in that area? May the regional wage boards moto propio (on their own initiative) take action considering that prices are rising and the cost of living is increasing? Pimentel asked.

The minority leader stressed that the regional wage boards must take the initiative to determine whether there is a need for wage increase through public hearings regardless whether there are pending petitions or not.

Pimentel said he thinks that adjustments in the minimum wage should be entrusted to the regional wage boards because the cost of living and economic condition vary from region to region.

The cost of living in Metro Manila is definitely higher compared to that of Tawi-Tawi, Sorsogon or Isabela. Therefore, it would be better that the regional wage boards determine the most reasonable wage hike and the needs of workers in their respective territories, he said.

The lone senator from Mindanao said he understands the steadfast resistance of employers to the P125 wage hike approved by the House of Representatives.

If the government will not listen to the employers, there is the danger that they may close shop, resulting in the loss of jobs of workers, Pimentel said.

Pimentel also proposed that the regional wage boards set a timetable for the adjudication and approval of the wage hike petitions with the end in view of acting on them as soon as possible.

I hope that they will make up their minds before the workers die of hunger. There is a certain degree of urgency here. And the sooner the regional wage boards act on the issue, the better if is for our people, he said.

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