Cebu News

P100 salary hike opposed

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Twenty-two chambers of commerce and industry in the Visayas region have banded together to express their stance against the proposed P100 legislated minimum wage increase, stressing their position through a joint paper.

The business organizations under the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in the Central, Western, and Eastern Visayas expressed strong opposition to the proposed call for a legislated and across-the-board wage hike under Senate Bill No. 2534 or P100 Daily Minimum Wage Increase Act of 2023.

“We believe that the proposed legislated increase infringes the mandated role of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) to determine minimum wage increases and is excessive, oppressive, and confiscatory and it will do more harm than good to informal workers - from farmers to vendors to gig workers - and micro and small-sized enterprises which make up 95 percent of all enterprises in the country,” the position paper reads.

“We are also adopting the recommendations stated in the joint position paper of the major business groups led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry to adopt a more comprehensive approach in addressing economic inequality instead of focusing solely on wage increases,” it added.

According to the business groups’ joint statement, while they recognize the importance of ensuring that workers receive fair compensation for their labor, however, they also put into consideration the challenges that businesses face in the economic environment.

The local chambers of commerce in the three regions in the Visayas, thereby recommend that the government should instead, prioritize expanding economic activities and attracting investments to complement and boost local productivity. This can be achieved, the groups suggested, through innovative investment promotion strategies and efforts to enhance the ease of doing business nationwide.

“By attracting both foreign and local direct investments, we can generate more job opportunities and stimulate economic growth that is inclusive,” the groups pointed out.

According to the joint position paper, the government must proactively address inflationary pressures, particularly regarding the prices of basic goods and services, high utility costs (especially power and water), fuel prices, and the importation of goods.

It is also crucial to boost the agricultural value chain and develop new agri-aqua technologies to improve productivity and reduce dependency on imports.

Additionally, the government can enact safety nets to protect labor from exploitation and ensure fair wages.

The group further suggested that instead of an across-the-board wage hike, an industry-driven wage hike is more realistic. They suggested that the government should consider creating a regional industry wage board that will consider the economic situation of each company- large, medium or small, and the corresponding wherewithal and resources in line with respective performance.

A Collective Bargaining Agreement type of solution per sector can also be considered, the group proposed.

The appeal, which has been signed by the president of the 22 business organizations under the PCCI across three regions in the Visayas last February 16, 2024 was accordingly made with utmost intention towards a balanced approach that considers the needs of both workers and businesses to maintain a healthy and sustainable economy not just in Visayas but in the whole country.

Copies of the joint position and appeal will be sent both to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“We understand the proposed bill is now in the House, specifically in the hands of the House Labor Committee. We’ve submitted to each Representative in the Visayas a copy our position paper and we have started talking to them one by one,” said PCCI-Visayas area vice president Melanie C. Ng.

Signatories of the joint position include:  Guimaras Island Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry; PCCI Region-7 (Central Visayas) Local Chambers; Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.; Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Other signatories are: Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.; Panglao Island Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.; Siquijor Chamber of Commerce and Industry; PCCI Region-8 (Eastern Visayas) Local Chambers; Biliran Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Eastern Samar Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ormoc City Chamber of Commerce and Industry;  PCCI-Baybay;  PCCI-Greater Calbayog;  PCCI- Palompon;  PCCI-Aklan Chapter, Inc.;  PCCI-Antique, Inc.; PCCI-Boracay; PCCI-Capiz Halaran; PCCI-Iloilo, PCCI Region-7;  PCCI Region 6 (Western Visayas) Local Chambers;  Samar Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Southern Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry and PCCI - Tacloban Leyte Inc. (CEBU NEWS)

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