No wage hike by May 1, says labor secretary*
By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines —What “good” news?
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said on Wednesday that she was unaware about the “good news” Malacañang said it would announce on Labor Day, adding that it definitely would not be a minimum wage hike.
Baldoz said a wage increase has become unlikely because the first regional wage board to tackle the issue—that of Metro Manila—has scheduled its first public hearing only for May 2, a day after Labor Day.
The regional wage board of Eastern Visayas will also hold its first public hearing on a minimum wage hike only on May 11.
“I have no idea of what good news (Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda) is talking about,” Baldoz said during a press conference on the sidelines of the First National Summit on Labor and Employment in Pasay City.
“If the context is…the minimum wage, my answer is I have heard the President say that he will leave the issue…to the existing tripartite boards,” she said.
“So, as far as I know, (the President) should be able to give instructions to hasten the process and for (the wage hike petitions) to be studied carefully but that he will respect the process,” she added.
As for non-wage benefits, Baldoz said the some of the agencies who were asked to come up with suggestions had yet to submit them as of Tuesday night.
“These will have to be submitted to the President but, as of last night, some agencies have not submitted their reports,” Baldoz said on Wednesday.
The labor chief said she saw “no chance” of a wage hike on Labor Day because the regional wage boards would still have to conduct public hearings.
“It looks like that there is no chance (for that) this May 1. The earliest (public hearing) is…May 2. The rest will be at a later time,” Baldoz said.
“But I think within the month of May, they should be able to finish on the deliberation and come out with their decision,” she added.
Labor officials earlier said that the Metro Manila wage board could come out with its decision in the middle of May.