COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, chaired by Minister Muslimin “Bapa Mus” G. Sema of the Ministry of Labor and Employment, has approved on Wednesday, Feb. 7, the new minimum wage for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The signing of the Wage Order No. BARMM-03, which took place at the MOLE office inside Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City, marked the third wage increase in the region since the BARMM was established in 2019.

As approved by the wage board, workers in the private sector will benefit from the P20.00 additional daily rate.

For instance, the daily minimum rates for Cotabato City have increased up to P361.00 and P336.00 for non-agriculture and agriculture sectors, respectively.

On the other hand, workers in the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur and del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, Basilan and Lamitan City, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi will get daily pay rates of P336.00 and P326.00 for non-agriculture and agriculture industries, respectively, while the Special Geographic Area under status quo retains the P341.00 for the non-agriculture and P316.00 for non-agriculture minimum pays.

Labor Minister Sema said during the signing, the board has been giving importance to the welfare of the labor sector, however they also took consideration on the capacity of the employers to implement the new minimum wage as they are also affected by inflation.

Sema, who recognized the private sector as a partner of the Bangsamoro government in traversing a flourishing economy, expressed his gratitude to the labor and employer sectors.

“We thank our partners in the private sectors as well as the working class. We hope that our Bangsamoro Government will also be capacitated to engage in providing more opportunities for our workers and private sectors,” Sema said.

“The Bangsamoro Government will strive hard to uplift the condition of our people,” he affirmed.

“Let us congratulate ourselves for reaching this decision on providing this wage [increase] for our workers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Atty. Anwar A. Malang, BTWPB’s management representative expressed during the press brief his views on the wage increase. He said, “Okay naman sa [employers] iyong within our capacity to increase at least by 20 pesos. Mas gusto nga natin mas malaki sabi nga ni Minister Mus. Kaya lang hindi naman kaya na sobrang laki.”

Similarly, Jonathan T. Acosta, who represented labor sector said, “Lahat tayo mas gusto natin na mas malaki pa sa P20.00 ang increase. Kaya lang the problem is hindi kakayanin ng employer.”

“Mas mabuti pa iyong P20, at least may trabaho lahat kaysa may mawalan ng trabaho. Iyon po iyong side namin sa labor,” Acosta added.

In determination of the new minimum wage, the BTWPB has conducted a series of public consultations covering the strategic areas of the region to collect and hear the clamor, insights, and concerns of different stakeholders to strike a fair decision.

By virtue of the NWPC Guidelines No. 03, series of 2020 or the Omnibus Rules on Minimum Wage Determination, a wage order shall take effect after 15 days from its publication in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the region.

On the duration of the implementation of the new minimum wage, retail or service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers and those establishments adversely affected by natural calamities and/ or human-induced disaster may file an appeal before the wage board for a wage exemption not later than 75 days from the date of publication of the wage order or from the date of declaration of calamity.