COOKING OIL. Workers prepare plastic containers of palm oil from Biñan, Laguna to be delivered to various retail and wholesale stores at the Kadiwa Public Market along Congressional Ave., Dasmariñas City, Cavite on Wednesday (March 9, 2022). Coconut oil is slightly higher in calories, while palm oil contains a little more fat. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Mar 10 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has ordered all wage boards across the country to look into the need to increase the salaries of workers amid soaring oil prices.

“I activated the wage boards since they are mandated, to continue monitoring our wage levels and based on their assessment of economic powers and consultation with major stakeholders who are represented in the wage boards, the tripartite councils with economic advisers, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are studying, observing economic factors in all regions,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a virtual forum on Wednesday.

Bello said the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) across the country will speed up the review of the minimum wages as skyrocketing fuel prices continue to take a toll on the local economy.

“The PHP537 daily minimum wage (National Capital Region) we have a slight problem because of the skyrocketing prices, that is why you can hear drivers, operators asking for (fare) increase,” he said.

Bello said the unabated fuel price hikes which have been worsened by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine may be a compelling ground for the wage boards to recommend adjustments in the minimum wages of workers.

He added that boards may start doing their assessments on the matter by the “last week of March”.

“Hopefully before the end of April or May, they already have recommendations. We also need to be careful on wage adjustment to strike a balance between the need of workers and the existence of the employer,” Bello added.

RTWPBs nationwide are in charge of receiving petitions for minimum wage increases in their respective areas.

“Every year, we have what we call an anniversary period where we make an assessment of all petitions received. One petition called for a uniform increase of PHP750 in the minimum wage nationwide,“ Bello added. (MNS)

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