Monday, December 12, 2016

Businesses threaten to close
with eminent wage increase

CORTES, Bohol, December 9, (PIA)—Threatening a possible down-scaling of industries should the Department of Labor and Employment pound for an increase in minimum wage, businessmen here would rather go for a moratorium instead. 

Faced with the prospect of across the board daily wage increases of P161.00 and P140.00 over the current P310.00 minimum wage, Bohol Business Community, in a position paper submitted to the DOLE insists: a wage increase now would be counter-productive to the economy. 

It may be recalled that the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB) has noted that it has been over a year when the last wage adjustment was implemented. 

This makes the RTWPB slide to its default task of wage consultations in the region as mandated by law, DOLE 7 Chief Exequiel Sarcauga Jr. said. 

During the Bohol leg of the regional wage consultations, Sarcauga also appraised the stakeholders present of the two applicable position papers for wage increases. 

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) proposed form a P161.00 across the board wage increase for Region 7 while Sentro/ Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Cebu Midtown Hotel Employees Union, Cebu Labor Coalition and two more unions petitioned for a P140.00 across the board increase. 

In their position paper, Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Panglao Island Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PICCI) and the Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants (BAHRR) appealed to the DOLE for a moratorium for several reasons. 

The position paper, shared by the three groups and signed by Albert Uy for BCCI and Rommel Gonzales for PICCI and BAHRR cited the wrong timing for the proposed increase. 

They cite peculiar conditions and circumstances like the stabilized inflation rate in Bohol and a decreasing poverty incidence which rather tell good balance in the economic landscape.

They also said Bohol has not fully recovered from the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that several establishments are still on the renovation and restoration stage. 

Moreover, they argued that Bohol’s dependence of power from Leyte and its constant maintenance activities have hampered business operations that many have decided to acquire expensive and yet efficient power generators, which are added costs. 

The two chambers of commerce also said the imported supplies and materials used here have contributed to costly business operations. 

Both chambers also claimed Bohol’s minimum wage of P310 is actually higher compared to other cities outside the Visayas but with the same Gross Domestic Product as with Bohol. 

Highly urbanized and first class General Santos City still has P275 minimum wage while Zamboanga, a considered regional international gateway still has P280.

For provinces with similar GDP as Bohol, the position paper bared that Bicol still uses P265 and Western Visayas (Iloilo, Roxas and Bacolod) still keeps their wages at P298.50. 

Moreover, both chambers also added that a moratorium can help Bohol position itself as an Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing destination because a high wage rate would drive away investors and consequently make Bohol uncompetitive. 

The RTWPB is set to hand out a decision on the petitions anytime this week, DOLE said. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Put up a moratorium on the P310 daily wage, urges Panglao island Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and Bohol Association of Hotels Resorts and Restaurants president Rommel Gonzales, arguing that a high wage would scare off IT BPM investors. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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