Valenzuela factory worker seeks help after receiving salary in centavo coins

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2021 10:49 AM | Updated as of Jun 29 2021 06:21 PM

Valenzuela factory worker seeks help after receiving salary in centavo coins 1
Courtesy of Valenzuela City Government's Official Facebook Page

MANILA (UPDATE) - A worker in a Valenzuela City factory has sought the help of the city's mayor after receiving his salary in centavo coins, as various labor officials insisted that while the act was legal, it was discriminatory. 

In a Facebook post Monday afternoon, the Valenzuela City Government said the employee got his 2-days worth of salary amounting to P1,056 in 5- and 10-centavo coins.

Gatchalian had a meeting with the worker and representative of the company, which the city government identified as Next Green Factory. Owners of the company who are currently out of town will be called in another meeting.

"Mayor Rex reiterates that industry workers should be treated accordingly and not be demoralized," the city government said.

In a separate statement, Gatchalian said he would face the company owner on Wednesday, adding that a company representative "won't cut it for me."

"I'll see to it that we get to the bottom of this 'cruel and unusual' labor practice and deal with it accordingly," he wrote on Facebook.

PAYMENT IN COINS ‘LEGAL’ 

In an email to ABS-CBN News, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the payment in coins is “legal.” His office, however, would look into Next Green Factory.

“There is discrimination. We will have [the] business establishment inspected,” he said. 

Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez, on the other hand, said that while the act is not illegal, it was “impractical.” 

Benavidez added that an employer should not, however, pay an employee’s salary with the following even if they “expressly requested” it, as per the Labor Code’s Article 102: 

  • promissory notes
  • vouchers
  • coupons
  • tokens
  • tickets
  • chits 
  • any object

“The Labor Code merely requires that wages/salary be paid by legal tender. Coins are legal [t]ender po. ATM payment is also allowed,” the government official told ABS-CBN News. 

He also pointed out that if the company adopted paying an employee’s wages through coins, “it should be applied to all workers,” adding that there are some limitations, citing a circular from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. 

According to the circular released by BSP in 2006, coins in denomination of P1 to P5 can be accepted as payment in amounts not exceeding P1,000.

The circular added that 1 centavo, 5 centavos, 10 centavos and 25 centavos can be used as payment in amounts not exceeding P100.

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“Hindi po sa lahat ng pagkakataon ay pwede po nating gawing legal tender ang barya, sapagkat mayroon po itong limitations… Tingnan po natin,” he explained in a separate video published on DOLE’s Facebook page. 

(We cannot use payment in coins all the time as legal tender because it has limitations, even if it is a legal tender. Let’s see.)

SINGLED OUT

The worker, according to Benavidez, might have drawn the ire of the company, resulting in the circumstance. 

“However, yung nangyari sa isang worker ng Next Green Factory sa Valenzuela ay kakaiba. Parang napag-initan lang po yung worker. Siya lang po yung pinasahod ng barya. (It) seems that discriminated po yung worker,” he added. 

(What happened to the worker is different. It seemed that he was singled out. He was the only one who was paid that way.)

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