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Manila Rep. Chua says grouping the regional wage boards into six clusters will solve wage gaps

Joel Chua
Rep. Joel Chua explains his proposal before Congress. (JERRY S. TAN)

“There are too many wage boards, Seventeen in total. In some regions, there are different layers of minimum wage rates—not just one. All these complicate the wage system and go against the principles of the Ease of Doing Business Law.”

Manila Congressman Joel Chua (3rd district) pointed these out, as he said that the regional wage board needs to be replaced to make it in keeping with the times.

Chua stressed that the current system is so antiquated and is the prevailing concept back in the 1950s, adding that with the countless developments and progress that have happened to the economy in the country’s various regions, there is a dire need to come up with an updated and efficient system that will be in keeping with the current times.

The solution, he said, is the clustering of wage boards, adding that simplifying the national minimum wage structure into just six tiers instead of the many we have now all over the country will make the system easier to administer, regulate, and enforce.

“Pagsama-samahin ang pare-pareho. Regions with approximately the same minimum wage levels should be grouped together. Sa ganitong paraan liliit ang wage gaps at poverty gaps between rich and poor regions. Sa aking pag-aaral ng mga minimum wage levels ng mga rehiyon, dapat nang baguhin sa pamamagitan ng isang bagong minimum wage law ang paraan ng pagtatakda ng minimum wage. Hindi na dapat by region. By clusters of regions na dapat,” Chua stressed.

Chua, a lawyer and an urban poor and sports advocate and member of the House Committee on Poverty Alleviation and the House Committee on Labor and Employment, added: “At sana balang araw wala na dapat minimum wage na mababa sa poverty threshold. Alisin na rin ang range at ang distinctions between different localities and types of jobs. One minimum wage rate lang dapat kada cluster of regions. Kaya ang different regional minimum wages, maging SIX clusters na lang sana at sa loob ng bawat cluster one rate lang sana dapat. Merger dapat ng regional wage boards into clusters ang mangyari.”

Under his proposal, Chua presented the current 2024 minimum wage rates and ranges alongside his proposed ‘clustering solution as follows:

CLUSTER 1- NCR: P573.00 – P610.00; Calabarzon: P385.00 – P520.00; Central Luzon: P385.00 – P500.

CLUSTER 2- Region 1: P402.00 – P435.00; Region 2: P430.00 – P450.00 (come April) and CAR: P430.00′

CLUSTER 3- Western Visayas: P440.00 to P480.00; Central Visayas: P415.00 to P468.00;

CLUSTER 4- Northern Min (R10): P411.00 – P438; Davao Region (R11) P476.00 – P481.00 (by September 2024)

CLUSTER 5- BICOL: P395.00; MIMAROPA: P369.00 – P395.00 and EASTERN VISAYAS: P375.00 – P405 and

CLUSTER 6- BARMM: P316.00 – P361.00; ZAMBOANGA: P368.00 – P381.00; CARAGA: P385.00 and Region 12: P382.00 – P403.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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