Daily wage earners will enjoy higher pays starting June 3, 2022 despite opposition from business organizations who see the increase as ill-timed amid the pandemic. (Arnold Almacen/file photo)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

(This story was updated to correct the date of effectivity from June 3, 2022 to June 5, based on the clarification issued by DOLE-Information and Publication Service director Rolly Francia on Thursday)

The new wage order for Western Visayas will take effect on June 5, 2022 after it was approved by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) on Tuesday, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The NWPC approval triggered the mandatory publication of Wage Order No. RBVI-26 which members of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Region 6 signed last week.

The new wage rates will take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the region.

The new order would increase wages for non-agricultural employees by P55, from P395 to P450 for employers with more than 10 workers; and P110 from P310 to P420 for employers with 10 workers or less.

For workers in the agricultural sector, they will get a P95-increase, from P315 to P410.

DOLE said the wage hike is seen to protect around 214,836 minimum wage earners in private establishments in the region from undue low pay.

“The increase considered the restoration of the purchasing power of minimum wage earners because of the escalating prices of basic goods, commodities, and petroleum products as well as to bring the minimum wage rate above the 2021 first semester poverty threshold,” it added.

RTWPB-6 also issued Wage Order No. RBVI-DW-04 providing a wage increase of P500, bringing the new monthly minimum wage rate for domestic workers or “kasambahay” to PhP4,500. It is expected to benefit 160,795 domestic workers (49,413 live-in and 111,382 live-out).

Before this, the last wage increase in Western Visayas was in 2019 where private sector workers got P15 to P30 per day hikes.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III had thanked the wage board in Western Visayas for heeding his call to expedite the review of the current minimum wage in the region.

“Let me cite the good job done by Region 6 (Western Visayas) wage board for taking the extra mile in resolving the petition for wage adjustments in their jurisdiction,” he said.

But under the Omnibus Rules on Minimum Wage Determination, retail/service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers and establishments affected by natural calamities and/or human-induced disasters, including the pandemic, may apply for exemption from the wage increase.


Earlier, the Iloilo Business Club (IBC) said the pay hikes ranging from Php55 to Php110 on top of the current rates is ill-timed.

The IBC said the wage increase will stunt efforts of the business community to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This meant an increase by 13.92% to 35%, which is not only very ill-timed, but it blatantly disregards the economic realities being faced by the business community in the province and city of Iloilo, especially since our local businesses are just starting to recover from the effects of the pandemic. This might derail the economic recovery of Region VI which will ultimately hurt all of us, from the employers to the employees and the public,” according to the IBC statement.

The business group noted that the wage hike will severely hit micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“By imposing the Php110 increase on private establishments with ten (10) and less workers, they may be forced to suspend operations, lay off their workers or even shut down their doors because it would be too much for them.”

IBC added that the new minimum wage hikes for the region are even higher than Metro Manila or the National Capital Region, which only imposed a Php33 increase.

“The IBC calls on RTWPB-VI to take a second look at the financial realities of the region and to reconsider the impact their decision would bring on the local economy here in Region VI,” it added.

In Bacolod and Negros Occidental, business leaders are plotting their next move against the wage increase.

A Philippine Daily Inquirer report cited Frank Carbon, vice president in the Visayas of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), as saying that they will meet “to get a consensus on what action they would take” following the wage hike.

“Business groups in Western Visayas will study whether to file an appeal on the wage hike before the RTWPB or before the National Wages and Productivity Commission,” Carbon said in the Inquirer report.

Carbon said both the national and local governments should focus on creating more jobs.

“If [the] wage increase pushes through, other businesses might be forced to reduce the number of workers.”

Labor groups Partido Manggagawa earlier slammed moves to exempt some businesses from the wage increase saying that businesses can afford the increase which will bode well for economy.

“It is adding insult to injury to workers for the regional wage boards to exempt and defer the wage hike as demanded by employers. The minimum wage increases are not even enough to recover the value lost to inflation for the past three years. If the hikes are deferred and employers exempted then the most vulnerable workers are left with nothing,” PM national chair Rene Magtubo said.