Bello tosses wage issue to Congress

Law bars grant of across the board pay hike


Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday maintained that Congress, and not the executive department, is in the best position to act on demands for a nationwide P125 daily across the board wage increase.


“We are into adjusting wages of our workers. But an across-the-board wage increase is not within our mandate,” Bello said, citing Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act.


He said: “It is under the jurisdiction of Congress. It has to go through a legislative act.”


Bello added however that all Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) are under the directive to conduct wage reviews and public consultations to determine possible wage adjustments in their respective jurisdictions.


“Different regions have different socio-economic conditions and cost of living conditions. We have to consider these conditions,” he said.


Bello pointed out that any increase in wages will have implications on the cost of doing business, production, employment and prices.


“The Regional Wage Boards will continue with their reviews and consultations on the salary adjustments at the regional level. They are conducting periodic assessment of their respective regions. They will be the ones to submit their recommendations if there is a need to increase the wage in their region,” he said.


Bello also cited the simulation study made by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on the impact of the proposed P125 wage increase. According to the study, the proposal could result in upward pressures on prices from 2017 to 2018, the strongest of which could be felt in 2017, when inflation could rise to 9.7 percent from a baseline of 2.1 percent.


— ###Letmaring

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