LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office here (DOLE-5) here has started public hearings on the proposed adjustment of the minimum wage for private workers in the Bicol Region, including household workers or ‘kasambahays.’
The DOLE-5 initiative is in response to the proposal of Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, who had earlier wrote a letter to DoLE Regional Director Ma. Zenaida Angara-Campita on the issue.
In his letter, Salceda expressed his strong support for the request of labor groups for a wage hike following a surge in food and fuel prices triggered by the global crises in Ukraine and the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is to express my support for reasonable increases in the minimum wage in the Bicol Region, in response to requests from various sectors, including labor groups for meaningful adjustments in the minimum wage in the region,” Salceda said in his letter.
“I express this support both as a member of Congress representing Albay and as co-chairman of the economic stimulus and recovery cluster of the House Defeat Covid-19 committee,” he added.
Based on DOLE Wage Order 20, Salceda said, workers in Bicol currently receive a minimum wage of P335 per day which was updated in two tranches. This was effected in 2020.
He noted that given the significant increase in the cost-of-living — 2.6 percent in 2020, 4.5% in 2021, and the expected 6% in March this year, it is high time indeed that DOLE reviews its last wage order.
“I express my strong support for the requests and petitions for wage adjustments to at least partly be subject to the deliberation of the board,” he said in his letter, stressing that Bicolanos deserve a wage increase and a reliable source of income following the high consumer prices surges.
“May I also request to be furnished a copy of pending petitions with the Board for adjustments in the minimum wage, so that my committee may be able to study them better. I hope to come up with a more detailed analysis and appropriate statement of support for such petitions,” he added.
Following Salceda’s letter, DOLE-5 officials held a public hearing at the Avenue Plaza Hotel in Naga City on Tuesday, April 26. Representatives of the labor sector and private groups attended the hearing.