SBDMC ANNOUNCES NEW CORPORATE PRESIDENT

in and out presidentSBDMC Chairman Chin Der Ou witnessed the turn over of the management and supervision of business affairs of SBDMC, Inc. to Mr. Willy Wang (from left: Mr. Willy Wang, Dr. Chin Der Ou, Mr. Jeff Lin).

 

SBDMC, Inc. has appointed Mr. Willy Wang as its new president. Wang took over the helm from Mr. Jeff Lin starting October 1, 2018. SBDMC Chairman, Dr. Chin Der Ou, led the turn over ceremony on October 3, 2018 at SBDMC Formosa Hall to welcome Wang.

 

Wang came to Subic Bay in March 2018 as TECO Group’s Representative to the Philippines to consolidate and manage all TECO’s investment and subsidiaries in the country.

 

Wang is a veteran of TECO Group holding various positions. TECO is a well known conglomerate in Taiwan with US$1B sales and business scope covering over 100 cities in more than 40 countries in the five major continents. He started his career as General Manager of Overseas Operations of Taian Electric Co., Ltd. followed by his stint in Hubbell-Taian Company and TECO Information System. In 1999, he moved to the USA as President of Advanced Innovative Marketing. He was appointed Managing Director of TECO Australia Pty. Ltd. starting 2001. He likewise  concurrently served as General Manager of AV Business Division of TECO Electric & Machinery Co. Ltd. from 2006-2008 and Managing Director of TECO Electric & Machinery B.V. from 2008-2009. As Managing Director, he oversaw the Europe Head Office and three other European subsidiaries of TECO in United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. He became Special Assistant to TECO Chairman in 2016.

 

Wang graduated from Taipei Technology University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He also earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Fu Jen Catholic University in 1995, with double major in Business Administration and English Literature. He completed a Master’s Degree in Global Operations Management from the State University of New York in 2017.

 

Lin, who had served as the president of SBDMC since September 2003, stayed on as Advisor to assist the company during the transition period. Lin was the longest-serving President of SBDMC steering its transformation and success through his dedication, hard work, and dynamic leadership throughout his 15 years in the company.

 

Wang took the opportunity to share his vision and the company’s new direction with its employees during the turn over ceremony. “I see many investments opportunities for SBDMC such as Gateway Park Phase III (Tipo area), partnership with Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC), Redondo Peninsula and its connecting bridge or tunnel to the SBFZ Mainland, etc.,” announced Wang. “I intend to focus energy and resources on working on these new projects.” -30-

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SBMA snags twin nominations in Stevie Awards

October 10, 2018

OLONGAPO CITY — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is a finalist in this year’s Stevie Awards, an international program that recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of companies and business people worldwide.

The nomination for “Organization of the Year” was announced on Wednesday by SBMA chair and administrator Wilma Eisma, who was also nominated as “Female Executive of the Year in a government or non-profit organization.”

Eisma said the nominations honors the efforts of SBMA employees in making the Subic Freeport a premier investment center.

“The SBMA has grown to be a better organization due to the culture of ‘malasakit (compassion)’ in the agency, which this administration has actively promoted,” Eisma said in a statement.

The Stevie Awards are handed out annually by the American Business Awards organization. The winners for the gold, silver, and bronze Stevies will be announced in the 15th annual awards dinner which takes place in New York City in November. /ee

(c) Joanna Aglibot@inquirerdotnet
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CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS AND HOW THEY AFFECT BUSINESS

October 1, 2018

 

Some of us have had to face the stakeholders of our business and ask for financing, or permission to pursue a new market and/or purchase equipment. While these are more typical examples of crucial conversations, many everyday interactions could also be just as important.

A crucial conversation is one that covers three conditions: high stakes, differing opinions, and strong emotions. The first thing that tells you you’re in one is how you feel. The thing is, reacting to how you feel, as common as it is, greatly affects whether or not you get what you want. In business, that makes or breaks a project, an assignment, even a sale.

We asked Vina Vidal Vicente, an expert on business communication and public affairs, on exactly how recognizing and managing a crucial conversation could affect your business. Her insights are based on the book “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High,” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.

  1. Helps improve dialogue and engagement

Mastering emotions in a crucial conversation helps one speak with anyone about anything to reach alignment and agreement on important matters.

For example, L. has always had difficulty speaking to people with authority. Whenever she is in a meeting with her boss, her heart would beat very fast and her hands would start to sweat. She learned exercises on managing her emotions through a crucial conversations session.

Soon, she began raising her hand and offering her opinions during meetings. Her boss took note and gave her more and more assignments. L. eventually took over from her boss after the latter left for another role.

  1. Creates change in behavior

Being able to talk to anyone about particularly sensitive matters helps hasten the decision making process, encourages commitment to action, enhances productivity, and sustains meaningful relationships.

  1. and Q. were good friends and work partners. Things generally ran smoothly between them, except during those times when Q. would show up at work after having biked his way from home. A. needed to tell Q. that his odor was very strong after biking, and that most of their coworkers avoid him when this happens. As a result, meetings would be deferred and deadlines would go unmet.

Using a crucial conversations tool, A. wrote down his feedback and rehearsed it before giving it to Q. When the conversation was over, Q. resolved to take quick showers after his bike rides and bring fresh clothes in his bag. Collaboration with other coworkers went more easily after that.

  1. Builds a high performance culture

Consistent communication behavior leads to organizations, teams, and individuals developing high-performance cultures based on trust and respect.

J.’s team greatly appreciate how she ran her team. She provides candid, actionable feedback and also always remembers to give praise. Because of her leadership, they constantly look out for each other’s performance and make sure that their metrics are met.

Vicente will conduct a one-day course titled “Crucial Conversations: How to deal with Power, Position and Authority” on Nov. 9.

The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the workshops or if you would like to add your input on the article, you may email ask@inquireracademy.com, call (632) 834-1557 or 771-2715 and look for Jerald Miguel or Judy Bondoc.

(c) Glenn San Luis
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SBMA PUSHES IMPLEMENTATION OF P10.2-B INFRA PROGRAM

August 30, 2018, 7:20 pm

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is vigorously pursuing for the implementation of the PHP10.2 billion six-year infrastructure development program to be funded under the national government’s Build-Build-Build program.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the projects are seen to improve the core business infrastructure here and sustain the attractiveness of the Subic Bay Freeport as a globally-competitive trade and tourism center.

“We are now bidding out six major projects to set into motion the execution of a PHP530-million program to rehabilitate, upgrade and develop roads and other public facilities in the Subic Bay Freeport,” Eisma said.

She said the six major projects form part of the SBMA’s PHP10.2-billion six-year infrastructure development program that will be funded by the national government and set for completion by 2023.

Eisma said this will be the first time for the SBMA to avail of national funding for infrastructure projects.

“But we feel justified not only because of the scope, but also because we’d like to think that these projects are investments on the part of the government,” she said.

Eisma cited the importance of the projects, saying these will help Subic sustain its position as one of the biggest revenue contributors among investment promotions agencies in the country.

The SBMA chief pointed out that since the Americans left in 1992, Subic has not seen any major investment in infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance of basic facilities like roads and docks, which are essential to business operations here.

“Even the security fence that defined the area of the former Subic naval base has already deteriorated,” she said.

The nationally-funded projects for this year include various road rehabilitation work amounting to PHP369.7 million; Phase 2 of the Naval Supply Depot (NSD) road network project, at PHP75.8 million; installation of navigational buoys, PHP47.5 million; installation of new traffic control systems, PHP9.6 million; repair of El Kabayo Road, PHP9.3 million; and drainage improvement at Argonaut Highway, PHP18 million.

Other projects in the PHP10.2-billion infrastructure development program will be implemented in phases starting with PHP524.5 million in 2019; and then PHP573.1 million in 2020; PHP1.32 billion in 2021; PHP2.35 billion in 2022; and PHP1.4 billion in 2013.

The other components of the program are various seaport and airport development projects, road widening and extension projects, and the construction of an SBMA Corporate Center, which gets the bulk of the budget at PHP3.8 billion.

Eisma said the SBMA has scheduled the projects based on the immediacy of Subic’s needs as a maritime logistics hub, with the first projects encompassing roads, traffic controls, drainage, as well as buoys and other equipment, and to be followed by seaport and airport improvements, road expansion, bridge and overpass projects, and finally, the SBMA Corporate Center.

Meanwhile, SBMA will plow in a total of PHP781.8 million in five years under its own capital expenditure program to complement the nationally-funded infrastructure program.

One of the bigger projects under the SBMA program is the construction of a new perimeter fence in critical areas of the former U.S. military base, with PHP18 million in the first year of implementation and PHP42 million in the second year. (PNA)

(c) Malou Dungog

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1046486

NATIONAL ID NOT MANDATORY, BUT NONHOLDERS FACE WOES – PSA EXEC

August 9, 2018

unnamed (3)

ID SAMPLE A Philippine Statistics Authority employee presents at the House a sample of the ID to be issued under the national ID system. —Jam Sta. Rosa

Applying for a national ID is not mandatory, but Filipinos who opt not to get one will face inconvenience in government and business transactions, the head of the agency that will manage the national ID system said on Wednesday.

“No one will be forced to enroll in the national ID system,” Lisa Grace Bersales, national statistician and civil registrar general, said on Wednesday.

The head of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said the national ID would be a requirement for doing business.

“It’s really more about accessing benefits. But if they don’t want to access benefits from government, then they will not really need to have an ID,” she said at a press briefing in Malacañang.

The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act, which President Duterte signed on Aug. 6, provides for a single national identification system called “Phil ID,” which collates citizens’ data in a centralized database.

Under the law, the PSA will store a citizen’s common reference number, biometrics, voter’s ID, Philippine passport number, taxpayer’s identification number, PhilHealth number, Professional Regulation ID number, driver’s license number and other information.

Privacy concerns

Critics are raising fears that the national ID poses risks to the privacy and data security of Filipinos.

While she acknowledged such fears, Bersales assured the public that the privacy of ID holders would be protected.

“It is very explicit in the law as to how we will use the data, manage the data,” she said, noting that information will be shared only if the Phil ID holder or the court would allow it.

Despite warnings from critics, the national ID system has popular support.

Filipinos support ID

Seven out of 10 adult Filipinos favor it, according to Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Results of a survey the opinion agency conducted from June 27 to 30 showed that 73 percent of respondents approved of the then proposal to make a single ID for the different identification cards currently used by Filipinos.

Eighteen percent disapproved of the proposal, resulting in a net agreement score (percent agree minus percent disagree) of +55 that SWS described as “extremely strong.”

The noncommissioned survey covered 1,200 respondents and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Asked if the government could be trusted to protect private information contained in the national ID, 61 percent agreed while 8 percent disagreed. Thirty percent were undecided.

The survey also found that 49 percent had “much trust” the government would not use the national ID system against those who oppose it, while 13 percent had “little trust.” Thirty-nine percent were undecided.

Consent, court order

Bersales expressed elation over the poll results, saying the national ID system “will only answer who are you and who you really say you are.”

She said the law provided that the PSA could share its data to another party only if it had the consent of the citizen and if a court ordered it.

The database of the national ID will include 11 demographic questions, such as name, birthday, birthplace, sex, blood type and address, and one’s biometrics.

She said newborns would be enrolled in the system.

Every person will get a 13-digit number and the information can be updated in a registration center.

“Eventually, you don’t need the ID card. Just memorize your number. Just go to the government agency that you need to transact with and they will capture two fingers to authenticate who you really are,” Bersales said.

The national ID will cover 33 government agencies, she said. “The vision is, after four years, there is really no need for these (33) cards.”

P2.2-B budget

To implement the system in the next four years, the government will need P30 billion. The first national ID will be free of charge.

The PSA is working on the P2.2-billion funding that Congress has allocated this year for the national ID system.

A pilot of the ID system will be launched later this year, a mass rollout in early 2019, and a target enrollment of 25 million Filipinos every year, said Assistant Finance Secretary Tony Lambino.

For this year, Lambino said the government would prioritize the enrollment of 1 million people benefiting from its unconditional cash transfer (UCT) program. Another 1.6 million getting UCT will be enrolled next year. /cbb /pdi

(c)  Christine O. AvendañoJulius N. Leonen

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DUTERTE: DATA PRIVACY SECURE WITH NATIONAL ID

August 7, 2018

NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION President Duterte describes the Philippine Identification System Act that he signed in the presence of lawmakers on Monday as a “monumental legislative measure.” —JOAN BONDOC

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the national identification system law on Monday, assuring Filipinos that their personal information would be kept secure with data privacy safeguards already in place.

Only those with illegal intentions should be afraid of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act, the President said after the signing ceremony in Malacañang.

“There is therefore no basis at all for the apprehensions about the Phil-ID, unless of course that fear is based on anything that borders on illegal,” he said.

He added: “If at all, the Phil-ID will even aid in our drive against the social menaces of poverty, corruption and criminal issues, as well as terrorism and violent extremism.”

The signing of the law coincided with the presentation and ceremonial signing of Republic Act No. 11054, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

PSA repository of data

Under the PhilSys Act, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will manage the national ID system.

It will store a citizen’s common reference number, biometrics, voter’s ID, Philippine passport number, taxpayer’s identification number, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. number, Professional Regulation Commission number, driver’s license number and other information.

In his speech, the President pointed out that the information would not be different from that recorded in other agencies collecting personal data.

He said data privacy safeguards were in place to ensure that citizens’ personal data were secure against identity theft and fraud.

“The PSA will work closely with the National Privacy Commission, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, and the multiagency PhilSystem Policy and Coordination Council to address all concerns pertaining to privacy and security,” the President said.

Calling the national ID law a “monumental legislative measure,” he noted that past administrations had tried but failed to introduce a national ID.

This was “partly because of the apprehensions peddled by some groups about privacy and data security,” the President said.

An opposition lawmaker, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, for instance, said the passage of the law “casts a pall of gloom over privacy rights and an ominous threat to human rights.”

“The heavy hand of the state will now apply to getting a comprehensive profile of its citizens,” Villarin said in a text message to the Inquirer.

The Presidenty thought otherwise, stressing that a national ID system would, in fact, improve the delivery of services and cut down on fraud and bureaucratic red tape.

Citizens, resident aliens

He pointed out that the Phil-ID, a single ID to be issued to all citizens and resident aliens, would “dispense with the need to present multiple IDs for different government transactions.”

“This will not just enhance administrative governance but reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, and promote the ease of doing business, but also avert fraudulent transactions, strengthen financial inclusion, and create a more secure environment for our people,” he said.

The President’s spokesperson, Harry Roque, said the implementation of a national ID would help protect Filipinos against identity theft.

Roque said the ID would help promote national security as it would become easier to verify one’s identity and single out criminals or terrorists.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, principal sponsor of the measure in the Senate, said many Filipinos could expect an easier time transacting with the government.

Lacson noted that there were 33 different forms of “functional” ID cards issued by government agencies.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon thanked the President for signing the measure and likewise gave assurance that it had enough safeguards to protect an individual’s privacy.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, principal author of the House measure, said the new law would benefit the poor and residents of far-flung communities who had been experiencing difficulties in securing proof of identity. —With Reports From Leila B. Salaverria and Marlon Ramos

(c) Julie M. Aurelio

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SUBIC LANDSLIDE CLEARING FINISHED NEXT WEEK

July 27, 2018, 8:08 pm

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT— With a small army of workers and volunteers, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) expects the massive landside that killed one person at the Aparri Road here to be finally cleared by next week.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the agency’s technical group estimated that it would take about 400 dump-truck loads to finally clear about 4,000 cubic meters of muddy soil that collapsed from a hill here early Monday.

“We are already working from both ends of the landslide to clear it faster, but at the rate the crew can go with the continuous rain, clearing operations that started last Monday may be completed only by Friday next week,” Eisma said.

“It’s good that we have enough pay-loaders, dump trucks and backhoes because a lot of locator-companies volunteered their heavy equipment, but what we lack is manpower. We need alternate operators because work continues until night time,” she explained.

She said volunteers from the SBMA, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary and some business locators in Subic are working overtime and have produced close to 14,000 sandbags since Tuesday.

Eisma also pointed out that continuous rains have resulted in other minor landslides in other areas in the Freeport.

The multiple landslides started Sunday as heavy rains from tropical depression Josie and the southwest monsoon soaked the Subic Freeport and surrounding areas.

At least three companies in the Freeport were affected by landslides, while three others reported flooding that damaged some facilities, the SBMA Business and Investment Department said.

Meanwhile, a report from the SBMA Ecology Center indicated that the heaviest rain in Subic since January 2013 fell last Sunday, July 22.

The most amount of average precipitation, or rainfall, was also recorded this year at approximately 400.21 millimeters (mm).

One millimeter of rainfall means that one square meter of space has one liter of water in it.

Before this, the heaviest average rainfall in the Subic Freeport since 2013 was posted in 2016 at 339.48 mm, while the least amount was in 2015 at 180.17 mm.

SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya dela Llana said that landslides hit areas where the soil composition has poor water-holding capacity.

Most areas in the Subic Freeport are considered “moderately susceptible” to rain-induced landslide, she added.

As of now, the SBMA is doing both prevention and cure—deploying sandbags to fortify erosion-prone slopes, while clearing eroded slopes of the rubble. (PNA)

(c) Ruben Veloria

BI INSTALLS ELECTRONIC IMMIGRATION GATES AT NAIA

July 19, 2018 03:07 PM

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday launched its Electronic Gate System (E-Gate) project which aims to improve the processing time of international passengers and to lessen long queues at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the Bureau expects to cut the processing time of passengers from the present 45 seconds to just 8 to 15 seconds.

Morente said the project will also enhance the BI’s ability to detect passengers with derogatory records, including wanted fugitives and those who are in the immigration blacklist, watch list and hold departure list.

The electronic immigration gates are provided with modern security features such as facial recognition, biometric scanning, bar code reading, and smart card recognition, Morente added.

According to OIC Deputy Commissioner Marc Red Marinas, head of the BI’s Port Operations Division, the P329 million E-Gate project was funded by the government and by the International Air Transport Association.

Marinas explained that as the project is still in its “experimental phase,” it will be first used by Filipino passengers with machine readable passports.

Marinas said children, senior citizens on wheelchairs and other handicapped travelers will still have to go through the regular counters.

Meanwhile BI Deputy Commissioner Tobias Javier described the E-Gate System as a “fast travel and accurate border clearing system” which he said can also “detect persons of interest trying to cross the country’s borders”.

According to the BI, a total of 21 E-Gates will be installed in five major international airports before the year ends. Of these, 11 will be installed at NAIA Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. Five will be installed at the Mactan international airport, three at the Clark international airport and two at the Davao international  airport.

(c) Micah Yurielle P. Atienza

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Chinese Taipei Visitors Enticed Through Bloggers

July 19, 2018, 10:52 AM

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – With the help of bloggers, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region III are eyeing Chinese Taipei nationals to become the number one tourists to visit this premier Freeport and Central Luzon.

unnamed (2)

Chinese Taipei bloggers take photos of an Iguana during their visit at the Zoobic Safari on Friday. The SBMA and the DOT are pushing for the increase of Taiwanese tourists in Central Luzon in an effort to make tourist spots like Subic and Clark their primary destination in the country. (Jonas Reyes/ MANILA BULLETIN)

In a day tour of the Subic Bay Freeport, well-known Taiwanese bloggers were assisted by the DOT Region 3 and the SBMA on Friday, giving them a glimpse of the many tourist spots here. SBMA Chairman Atty. Wilma T. Eisma welcomed these bloggers before boarding a yacht for a bay cruise here.

“We have been blessed with many tourist attractions in Subic Bay Freeport, we are adamant of pushing the numbers of tourist arrival in the Freeport, and we want to use every possible means to entice tourists. And having bloggers experiencing firsthand the many tourism attractions here, we hope that they would convey the message to their fellow Chinese Taipei nationals,” Eisma said.

The visitors were accompanied by Region III Tourism Officer Marilou Pangilinan, who met them at the Clark International Airport with the first Taipei to Clark flight of AirAsia Philippines.

The group first started their tour at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) where they met with the SBMA tourism officials. The group then went to Zoobic Safari where they had a close encounter with tigers.

After their tiger tour, the group went to Ocean Adventure Marine Theme Park to visit the marine animals that reside there. The bloggers were awed at the sea lions’ enclosure as the animals gracefully swam inside their pool.

The group had an encounter with four bottlenose dolphins and viewed the feeding of blacktip reef sharks, including some of the small marine creatures that can only be found in the bottom of the sea.

The bloggers were treated to a sumptuous lunch at the Acea Subic Bay Resort. The area, known for holding international triathlon events, provided the bloggers a tour of the area. The tour included the viewing of luxurious rooms, pristine beach, a restaurant and beautiful swimming pools.

To cap the visit, the bloggers also treated to a bay cruise by The Lighthouse Marina Resort Marketing Director Zed Avecilla. The bloggers visited the mangrove forest, the Ilanin area, a view of the Grande Island, and The Lighthouse Marina Resort on board a yacht.

Pangilinan said that Chinese Taipei tourists have often used Clark Airport as their entry point to the Philippines, frequenting areas such as Bohol, Palawan, Cebu and Benguet, but with little or no knowledge of Central Luzon’s tourist spots.

She hopes that through these bloggers, tourists who are looking for new areas would consider Subic Bay Freeport Zone as one of their stops during their stay in the country. She added that Central Luzon has so much to offer, and that one cannot enjoy Subic Bay Freeport in just one day.

(c) Jonas Reyes

https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/07/19/chinese-taipei-visitors-enticed-through-bloggers/

 

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASED IN 9 REGIONS

July 18, 2018

Nine regional wage boards have approved increases in workers’ basic pay ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address, but labor groups found the amounts too paltry to cope with the rising prices of goods.

Beginning Aug. 1, workers in Central Luzon will enjoy a P20 increase in minimum wage, or a range of P274 to P400, labor officials said on Tuesday.

In Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), the increase ranges from P9 to P45, bringing the new rate to P303 to P400. In Soccsksargen, it ranged P16 to P18, adjusting the rate to P290 to P311.

P15M in ARMM

The wage board in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) gave workers a P15 increase (P270 to P280), while in Eastern Visayas the increase was between P20 and P30, for a new rate of P275 to P305.

In Western Visayas, the basic pay was raised from P8.50 to P26.50, bringing the new rate to P295 to P365. The cost of living allowance was also adjusted by P5 to P15.

While the wage boards of Central Visayas, Zamboanga and Davao have yet to publish the adjustments in their regions, workers could also expect an increase in the coming weeks.

Basic pay will increase by P10 to P52 (P313 to P386) in Central Visayas; by P20 (P303 to P316) in Zamboanga, and by P56.43 (P381.43 to 396.43) in Davao.

Of the nine wage boards, five have already implemented the increase: Calabarzon on April 28, Soccsksargen on May 11, ARMM on June 15, Eastern Visayas on June 25 and Western Visayas on July 12.

Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III said the increases were meant “to protect” the purchasing power of minimum wage earners.

“This would ensure that they have income above the poverty threshold,” he said.

The needs of the workers and their families, and the capacity of employers to pay were key considerations in setting the amounts of increase, Lagunzad said.

The development needs of the region, employment and inflation were considered as well, he added.

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said the pay increase would hardly help minimum wage workers move out of poverty.

“The wage increases will have no impact on the downward pattern of the daily minimum wage and its falling value of purchasing power,” ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

Based on the group’s computation, the average daily nominal wage of workers nationwide was P330.47. But due to inflation, its value eroded to P208.38 in April.

The workers blamed the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act which, they said, “further burdened the wage earners because the government did not spare food items, fuel, electricity and water from taxes.”

Runaway prices

Labor groups in Central Luzon said the P20 increase would not help workers cope with runaway prices of basic goods and services.

“That’s a bit short of the wage increase we really needed,” said Emily Fajardo, a council member of the Workers for People’s Liberation in Central Luzon.

Fajardo said each worker should have an additional P1,200 to support a family of six, based on the estimate of the National Economic and Development Authority.

The P20 increase, she said, was “definitely not enough” to cover the price adjustments of rice (P5-P8/kilogram), sugar (P8/kg), canned goods (P3-P10), diesel (P15 cumulative) and transportation fare (additional P1 for jeepneys).

“Like a bread crumb,” Pol Viuya, chair of the Workers Alliance in Central Luzon, said of the adjustment.

The adjustments only bolstered calls for the abolition of the wage boards since they were proving to be “inutile” in addressing demands for an increase that could tide workers over the rising prices of goods, Nagkaisa labor coalition spokesperson Rene Magtubo said.

(c)  Jovic YeeTonette Orejas

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