P38 daily wage increase “not enough” for Davao workers

Mar. 12, 2024

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Daily wage earners in Davao City are not satisfied with the new salary increase of only P38 daily in Region 11 announced by the Department of Labor and Employment XI.

The wage increase under Wage Order No. RBXI-22 will be in two tranches this year. The first tranche of the P19 increase was implemented on March 6, while the second tranche will take effect on September 1.

The previous minimum daily wage in the Davao Region was P437 for agricultural workers and P443 for non-agricultural workers. 

The new daily wages will now be P481 for non-agriculture workers and P476 for agriculture workers.

Domestic workers or house helpers will have a new minimum wage of P6,000 monthly in chartered cities and first-class municipalities and P5,000 for other municipalities effective March 6.

DOLE XI records show that there are around 100,000 minimum wage earners in private establishments in Davao Region, along with almost 65,000 domestic workers.

But daily wage earners interviewed by Davao Today said the wage hike is not enough because of the high prices of commodities.

For Grace Ambara, a convenience store cashier whose husband is also a daily wage earner, the P19 increase for the next few months “would always fall short” for the needs of their children.

Unsa ra man nang dise nuebe pesos kung buot huna hunaon. Sa balon pa lang sa akong mga anak, bayad sa rent sa balay, kuryente, suga, tapos among pagkaon. Sometimes naa may alamutan sa school akong mga anak, projects makuhaan pa ang among budget, (What’s 19 pesos if you think of it. I need to budget for my children’s allowance, rent for our house, electricity bills, then there’s food. Sometimes my children need to contribute to school projects, and that is deducted from our budget.)” she said.

Nelson, 35 years old, is thankful but wishes for a much higher daily salary hike. He works in an office in a service company but his and his wife’s income still fall short of their daily spending.

Nagasahod kog naa sa 30 plus pero (I earn around P30,000 monthly, but) to tell you honestly kulang pa rin (that’s stil not enough). Dati si misis ko housewife lang talaga yan sya (My wife used to be a housewife) but now she needs to work kahit nasa bahay kay para may isustain sa school ng mga anak ko, public school pa gani na, (so that we can sustain the school expenses of our children, and they are in public school by the way.)” Nelson said.

Security guard Jake Lipada, 27, also thinks that there is a need for a higher salary as there are always unprecedented expenses like hospital bills or contributions at school. These expenses are not “considered” in their daily budget and they would always rely on lenders that cost a big chunk of their monthly income.

Wala man kay maipon kay sakto ra man sa adlaw adlaw, minsan kulang pa gani. Ang ending gyud duol kag 5-6 kay wala na may makuot, maong daku gihapon nga problema inig ting singil na, (You can’t save money because you need to spend every day, and sometimes it’s not enough. You end up asking for 5-6 loans because you run out of money. Then you worry if they come up to ask you to pay your loans.)” Lipada said.

DOLE XI Regional Director Attorney Randolf Pensoy said the P38-daily wage increase was determined with consultations with companies and labor groups, and studying data on the socio-economic situation in the region.

“The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) addressed this with three principles, necessity, timely and predictability.

 Now we consider the consumer price index, the socioeconomic conditions of our region of which we are different from other regions, ang iyang kapasidad ng mga tao nga mupuyo ug ang iyang sweldo kung asa kutob ang iyang purchasing power dire sa atoang rehiyon, (their living capacity and the purchasing power of their wages here in the region.)” said Atty. Pensoy.

Other factors DOLE considered are the capacity of the employer to pay, the investment growth in the region, and inflation.

Pensoy said that for a family of five, the new minimum wage is enough to support their daily needs. 

But for Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao, the increase is just a “band-aid solution” to the worsening economic crisis in the region, as they call for a daily wage increase of P750. 

Amo man nang giwelcome ang ilahang gihatag nga umento sa sahod pero ang gamay kaayo ng umento wala may epekto gihapon sa mga trabahante gumikan sa kagamay sa usbaw sa suholan. Dili gyud kini paigo ngadto sa mga panginahanglanon sa trabahante ilabina diha sa inadlaw adlaw nga panginahanglan, (We will welcome the wage hike they provide now, but this is meager and doesn’t bring any effect for the workers because it’s a small increase. It’s not even enough for the worker to spend for their daily needs.)” said Renyboy Baliguat, campaign officer of Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao.

The economic research group IBON Foundation blamed the Rice Tarrification Law enacted in February 2019 for the drastic soaring price of rice from 4.5% in February 2019 to 23.7% in February 2024. Rice prices soared from an average of P43 per kilo in 2019 to P56/ kilo in February this year.

IBON urges the Marcos Jr administration to implement “more effective measures” such as stopping rice import liberalization, increasing wages and assistance to poor households, and supporting local producers to boost the economy. (davaotoday.com)

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