The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has filed a motion for reconsideration and/or memorandum of appeal on Wage Order No. NCR-17 which grants a two-step P30 cost-of-living allowance (COLA) for private sector minimum wage earners in Metro Manila.
In ECOP’s petition filed before the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), ECOP Acting President Rene Y. Soriano sought to set aside Wage Order No. NCR-17 and said wage order be remanded to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-National Capital Region (NCR). In addition, Soriano urged that Section 2 of the new wage order be “declared null and void for being contrary to Republic Act (RA) 9178 and NWPC Guidelines No. 1, Series of 2003.”
Soriano argued in ECOP’s petition that the RTWPB-NCR committed grave abuse of discretion in granting an “excessively unjustified increase in the minimum wage rates contrary to law and policy, which is confiscatory in nature in so far as covered employers are concerned.” In addition, he said the RTWPB-NCR committed an “ultra vires act” when it prescribed a minimum wage rate for registered barangay micro business enterprises (BMBEs) in violation of RA 9178 and NWPC Guidelines No. 01, Series of 2003.
In charging the RTWPB-NCR of committing grave abuse of discretion, Soriano maintained that the new wage order is not economically feasible; the law, in laying down the standards and criteria for minimum wage fixing, provides as basic prescription that the regional minimum wage shall be as nearly adequate as is economically feasible for the minimum standards of living of the employees; and that the law, in laying down the standards and criteria for minimum wage fixing, provides as basic prescription that the regional minimum wage shall be as nearly adequate as is economically feasible for the minimum standards of living of the employees.
In addition, Soriano said ECOP “finds no legal basis and economic justification for the imposition of the new wage rates which are non-productivity based. The RTWPB-NCR, according to Soriano, failed to consider the destructive impact of the wage order on the cost of doing business and on the viability and competitiveness of enterprises, particularly on the micro and small establishments which employ most of the minimum wage earners.
Pointing out that the RTWPB-NCR committed an “ultra vires act,” the acting ECOP leadership said the RTWPB-NCR when it prescribed in Section 2 thereof “that duly registered BMBEs should pay their workers not lower than the region’s poverty threshold of P259.36 per day for a family of five as 2011, subject to the condition that should there be a change in the poverty threshold as determined by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the same shall be applicable.” This prescription is violative of RA 9178 and NWPC Guidelines No. 1, Series of 2003, Soriano emphasized.
Soriano noted that RA 9178 not only exempts BMBEs from coverage of the minimum wage law but also penalizes with criminal sanctions violations of its provisions.