Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CL workers to get non-wage benefits

By. Antonio Paño – Philippine Star

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Nine government agencies, the chambers of commerce and industry in four provinces and two cities in Central Luzon and the Clark and Subic freeports are signing today a memorandum of agreement (MOA) exyending “non-wage” benefits to minimum wage earners in the region.

While the MOA admits that minimum wage earners are indeed adversely affected by economic difficulties, their employers do, too, and cannot afford another round of wage hikes, thus non-wage benefits are the only option.

The MOA, to be signed at hotel Stotsenburg here at noon today with labor Secretary Marianito Roque as witness, states that “employees / workers in general are affected by the increases in the prices of products and services brought about by shortages in supply, high importation of cost of raw materials, and continuous upward trend in petroleum products in the world market prices.”

“The current economic conditions have adversely affected the members of the chambers and any further wage hikes in the near future can adversely affect their competitiveness and, in some cases, their very viability as economic enterprises,” it adds.

The government agencies comprising the regional inter-agency committee (RIAC) convinced the chambers of commerce and industry to “cooperate in formulating, creating and promoting measures and programs that will provide additional benefits and/or income to their workers for the purpose of alleviating the plight of wage earners in the face of the worsening economic crisis.”

The government agencies are the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Food Authority (NFA), Department of Health, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DepEd), Technology Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Economic Development Authority, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The chambers include those Pampanga, Bataan, Tarlac, and Bulacan, and the cities of Angeles and San Fernando, as well as those at the Clark and Subic freeports.

The MOA tasks the DOLE to “encourage the employers on the purpose, benefits and process of the non-wage package of intervention,” while duction and organic farming / composting and distribute assorted vegetable seeds to the targeted beneficiaries.

The DOH will provide 200 Botika ng Barangay in Central Luzon to make “affordable, safe, effective, quality essential drugs” available to workers.

Under the MOA, the NFA will make commercial grade rice available to government and private employees at prevailing NFA consumer prices, and deploy more NFA rolling stores” at an agreed schedule.”

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