MANILA, Philippines — Workers today reveled at the news that the Department of Energy (DOE) would now be the government agency tasked to review and implement wage hike petitions from the labor sector.
Malacañang issued Executive Order No. 70 s. 2012, proclaiming the DOE as “the new national government agency mandated to formulate and implement policies and programs, and serve as the policy-advisory arm of the Executive Branch in the field of labor and employment”. It was previously under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda made the announcement this morning in front of the press people amidst growing demand for wage increase after a non-stop oil price hike that saw the price of fuel increased by almost P6 from January up to present.
The impending transport hike as well as an impending hike on electricity charges has certainly help increase the clamor even more as the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is preparing it’s petition for the said wage hike.
Francisco Valois, National Operations Officer for TUCP welcomed Malacañang’s move, saying that assigning DOE the job of reviewing wage increase petitions would make it easier for it to get approved. “As fast as they allow price hikes for the oil companies,” said Valois
Nelson Pinlas, a factory worker we interviewed on the street, said “Alam naman natin kung gaano kabait ang DOE pag dating dyan sa mga dagdag dagdag na yan. Mabuti naman at pati manggagawa ay makikinabang sa kasipagan at kabaitan nila (We all know how kind DOE is when it comes to increases. Its good to know that workers will be able to benefit from their diligence and kindness).”
Transport groups are also requesting the Palace to mandate fare hike petitions to the DOE as well, instead of the Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Militant group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) secretary general George San Mateo said “Sang ayon kami sa hakbang na ginawa ng ating Presidente, kaya sana ay ipaubaya na din nya sa DOE ang petisyon naming dagdag singil sa pamasahe para maaprubahan na ito kaagad (We agree with the steps that our President has made, and we wish that he would let DOE handle our petition on fare hike so that it would get approved immediately). “
The move by the government, is a win-win solution according to an analyst. Tasking the DOE of these responsibilities, the agency would be more cautious in allowing oil companies to increase their prices due to a domino effect that the agency has to suffer because of their decision. “By allowing oil companies to increase their prices, they would then have to endure additional petitions from transport groups and another petition from the labor sector after that,” said the analyst.