TO BOOST BALIK PROBINSYA
TWO congressmen are pushing for the passage of House HB 06668 seeking to abolish the Regional Tripartite Wages Productivity Board (RTWPB), to be replaced by a general wage rate for all regions to boost the national government’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa program.
Jointly introduced by Pangasinan Fifth District Rep. Ramon Guico III and Cagayan Third District Rep. Joseph Lara, they filed the bill on May 4, after they noted how the economic activities at the National Capital Region (NCR), were totally disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic that left many jobless.
Guico said the lockdown in Metro Manila highlighted: the extreme congestion that exacerbated the spread of COVID-19, and the serious lack of job opportunities in many regions outside the NCR.
While the push for Balik Probinsya is gaining ground, he said “its success in practice would depend on how the government can make employment in the provinces appealing enough so that people would not only choose to stay there, but be better off because of it.”
He said the glaring disparity between the wages paid in the NCR and those in other regions is one of the reasons why workers are enticed to take their chances in Metro Manila.
He cited as an example that as of March 2020, the current real minimum wage for NCR is at P499.75 in the non-agriculture sectors. And for both plantation and non-plantation agriculture, the rate is at P418.76.
In ARMM one of the country’s poorest regions, the rate is at P251.94 for non-agriculture and P232.56 for both plantation and non-plantation agriculture.
“Common sense dictates that without the prospect of growth, people leave the provinces; and the provinces, without the human capital needed for it to develop, gets trapped in this vicious cycle of poverty,” Guico said.
He said it is imperative for the government to break the cycle and seek to equalize wages across all regions through the establishments of a general minimum wage rate in order to incentivize working in the provinces.
“All we have to do is invite more big companies to place investments in the provinces, build better facilities and provide competitive wages so they need not go to Metro Manila and spend more quality time with their family in the provinces,” Guico said. (PhilStar Wire Service/ECV)
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