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RTWPB to deliberate on pandemic assistance

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Region 6 will meet today in Iloilo City to discuss the proposed Pandemic Emergency Relief Assistance (Pera) for private sector workers in Western Visayas, including Negros Occidental.

Labor representative Wennie Sancho said the labor sector is hoping that the daily Pera of P25  manifested in their position paper dated October 19 last year will be given attention and finally approved.

Sancho reiterated the need for the approval of the PERA to revive the purchasing power of the workers in the region who were greatly affected by the pandemic, adding that, the purchasing power of peso also plunged to 77 centavos.

Based on their record, he said, some 126,808 workers in Western Visayas have been affected by the pandemic as many of them experienced reduction in the number of working hours, while others lost their jobs.

Sancho, also the secretary general of the General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), said earlier that the labor sector will instead push for P80 to P100 per day increase for minimum wage workers in the region if the Wage Board will not grant the proposed emergency allowance.

In the Western Visayas, minimum wage workers currently earn from P310 to P395 per day depending on their classification while the daily pay hike provided for employees among non-agriculture, industrial and commercial establishments employing more than 10 employees is at P30 under Wage Order 25.

Meanwhile, Sancho said the government will hopefully come up with a categorical statement to end once and for all the speculations on the “no coronavirus 2019 vaccine-no work” policy.

Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello had earlier said that the policy should not be implemented as it is illegal.

But Sancho said it is not remote that there will be employers who might implement the policy, adding that it should not be allowed since it is discriminatory.

He said that not all employees would opt to be vaccinated and it would be unfair if  they will not be able to go back to work and lose their income because of this.*

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