P20.00 minimum wage hike for Central Luzon workers takes effect August 1

Marje Pelayo   •   August 1, 2018   •   49003

Canned-food factory workers


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The National Wages and Productivity Commission published the implementation of the P20.00 minimum wage hike for workers in Central Luzon.

The wage increase officially takes effect Wednesday, August 1.

According to Wage Order No. RBIII-21, the daily minimum wage for workers in the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales will be raised from the previous P380 to P400 for non-agriculture and from P350 to P370 for agriculture workers.

Retail and service workers will receive an adjusted minimum wage of P389 from the previous P369.

Meanwhile, workers in the province of Aurora will receive the wage increase in two tranches. Following the implementation of the order, they will receive an additional P10 to the current daily minimum wage while the next P10 will be added after six months.

Currently, Aurora workers receive a P329 daily wage for the non-agriculture sector; P314 for agriculture sector; and P264 for retail and service sectors. – Marje Pelayo



DA, NIA to conduct cloudseeding ops in Central Luzon to stem dipping Pantabangan Dam water

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) are planning to conduct cloudseeding operations in Central Luzon to address the declining water level in Pantabangan Dam.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said he has given a go-signal for the department’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) to commence the operation to induce rains over parts of Central Luzon where the bulk of the rice areas are in critical reproductive stage.

“With this initiative, we can ensure a respectable rice harvest in Central Luzon, particularly in Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, and Tarlac,” Dar said.

Sonia Salguero, DA-BSWM director said a total of P6 million has been allocated for the operations and that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has given clearance to make use of Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija as its base.

Dar said the project is in cooperation with NIA and the irrigators’ associations, which is aimed to ensuring adequate water for rice farms in Central Luzon and to bring up Pantabangan dam’s “very low reservoir water level.”

Central Luzon is the country’s rice granary and main source of the staple for Metro Manila and other rice-deficit areas in Luzon.

“Central Luzon is a critical component in our objective to achieve food security, especially for residents in the National Capital Region,” the DA chief said.

Pantabangan Dam is one of the largest dams in Asia and supplies the irrigation requirements for agricultural lands in Central Luzon. Its power station generates 112 megawatts of hydroelectric power.

As of September 5, 2020, Pantabangan Dam’s RWL is at 182.17 meters or 30.97 meters below its normal high water level of 216 meters.

“This means the stored water at Pantabangan Dam is not enough to supply the irrigation requirements of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (UPRIIS) operated by NIA,” said Salguero.

More than 141,430 hectares are programmed to be served by UPRIIS this rainy season.

NIA expects that the possible arrival of La Niña in the coming months may help increase the water level of Pantabangan Dam.

5 Central Luzon provinces request for implementation of modified ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   May 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Starting May 16, areas of Metro Manila, Laguna and Cebu City will be placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), based on the resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19. 

Likewise, all low and moderate risk areas will be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ).

However, the Central Luzon Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 is requesting the implementation of MECQ over five provinces namely Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Zambales and Pampanga; including the highly-urbanized city of Angeles that is considered a moderate risk areas. 

Based on their petition, the Regional Task Force argued that the high number of pending COVID-19 test results, low percentage of tested cases and the needed preparation and transition phase from ECQ and GCQ as factors to consider before downgrading the quarantine level from ECQ to GCQ. 

The Palace, meanwhile, said it will thoroughly study the appeal of concerned local executives as regards the matter. 

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque clarified that even areas with moderate risk of infection will remain under modified GCQ, though the guidelines on this are still being crafted by the national government. 

For simplicity purposes, general community quarantine muna. Sa ngayon po, inaantay pa rin natin ang guidelines, [For simplicity purposes, it is still general community quarantine. For now we are still waiting for the guidelines,]” Roque said. 

“For now, pending the guidelines of modified GCQ, malinaw naman po ang guidelines sa GCQ [the guidelines for GCQ are clear]. That’s applicable throughout the Philippines except for NCR, Laguna and Cebu City,” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

DOLE: Bus drivers, conductors to get fixed pay starting March

Robie de Guzman   •   March 5, 2019

A bus driver

MANILA, Philippines — Bus companies will soon be obliged to pay a fixed salary and performance-based incentive to their drivers and conductors.

Under the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) guidelines No. 1 series of 2019, the new pay scheme is set to take effect by mid-March.

“The fixed-wage component shall be an amount mutually agreed upon by the public utility bus owners and/or operators and the driver/conductor and shall be paid in legal tender. It shall in no case be lower than the applicable minimum wage for work performed during hours/day,” the NWPC guidelines stated.

Bus operators will be obliged to implement a mutually-agreed upon pay package for drivers and conductors, based on their revenue, ridership, safety and specific conditions of routes.

The fixed pay should also not be lower than minimum pay in the region of operation.

Meanwhile, the performance-based component will be based on business performance, safety performance and other factors.

The NWPC also said that bus drivers and conductors are also entitled to receive other wage-related benefits such as overtime pay, night shift differential, service incentive leave, 13th-month pay and holiday and premium pay, among others.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) warned that failure to comply with the policy will result in the revocation of their franchise. – Robie de Guzman


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