Press Releases
RTWPB-NCR takes another review on the socio-economic indicators
MALATE, Manila—The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board - National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) convened for another review of the socio-economic indicators on Thursday, June 7, to assess and evaluate the current economic situation in the National Capital Region. 
 
Said activity is in line with the continuous wage review functions of the Board as mandated under Republic Act 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act since the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law including among other contributing factors such as movements in the supply/prices of the basic commodities, oil/fuel situations, fare hikes, and inflation trends.
 
This time, experts from various government and non-government agencies were invited such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Action for Economic Reforms Inc. (AER) to enlighten the Board with the current situations such as, but not limited to, the implementation and impact of the TRAIN Law, possible fare hike, and tuition fee surges in the metropolitan. 
  
According to BIR, the Train Law introduced major changes in the personal income tax of individual citizens. Individuals earning purely compensation income such as the minimum wage earners shall be exempt from income tax. These include the statutory minimum wage, holiday pay, overtime pay, nightshift differential and hazard pay. BIR has been serious in their drive to fully implement the new law to realize and achieve its main objective of correcting the longstanding inequality in the tax system while widening the consumption tax base that will lead towards higher significant revenues.   
 
LTFRB reported that there are pending petitions filed by various transport groups in NCR as well as with the other regions. The amount ranges from P8 to P10 for the first 5 kilometers and additional P1.85 on the succeeding kilometers. Taxi and bus operators from various regions except CAR have also filed their respective petitions ranging from P30 to P40 and additional P5.50 for the succeeding 300 meters. Series of hearings have already been conducted and still on-going and no fare resolutions have been released to this date. 
 
As to school tuition fees (higher learning), CHED informed that based on their 2016-2017 data, the cost per unit for Private Higher Education Instructions (PHEIs) are: P603/unit for Baccalaureate, P1,136/unit for Masters, and P1,502/unit for Doctoral. State Universities and Colleges, on the other hand, are providing free tuition fee beginning 2018. CHED explained that any movements in tuition and other school fees are anchored upon the following factors: regional inflation rate, financial standing of higher education institutions, financial capacity of the students, impact of force majeure/calamities, quality track record, and mission/vision of the schools.
 
Meanwhile from the standpoint of the economists, the Board invited experts from Action for Economic Reforms (AER), a non – government organization engaged in research and advocacy dealing with the macroeconomic issues with emphasis on fiscal policy and tax regulation/administration and looks at the impact on equity, poverty reduction and sustainability. According to AER, their stand was premised upon relevant statistical data taking the most conservative figures such the Family Income and Expenditure Survey 2015, Consumer Price Index, project figures up to 2017/2018 values for baseline, household behavioral change, inflation and resulting welfare impact. It was further explained that the real essence of the law is to be able to provide sustainable revenues to finance government goals to transform the Philippines into a high middle-income country and thus eradicate poverty.
 
Taking into consideration the data on Family Income and Expenditure Survey, it may be considered that minimum wage earners belong to the 5th to 6th decile who are also part of the government’s beneficiaries (up to the 7th decile) of the Unconditional Cash Transfers (UCT).
 
AER is still optimistic on other government’s mitigating social programs and measures such as subsidy for jeepney drivers, DTI’s monitoring of prices, rice tarrification, fuel discounts, transport modernization program, among others.
 
Finally, the Board will continuously monitor the socio-economic developments as well as all contributing factors such as the effects of Train Law, movements in the supply/prices of the basic commodities, oil/fuel situations, and inflation trends in order to determine and decide for possible wage adjustments when necessary (despite the existing wage order that will have its anniversary date on October 5, 2018) to recover lost purchasing power of minimum wage earners and other low paid workers. END/Kim S. Lagcao

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2018-07-02
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