Concepcion: Minimum wage hike? Wait out, oil price surges may be temporary
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said Monday that the government and private sector should wait out and “have more discussions” regarding calls to increase the minimum wage, noting fuel price hikes may only be temporary.
Labor groups have urged the government to increase the daily minimum wage amid soaring prices of petroleum products following the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, one of the leading crude producers in the world.
According to Concepcion, the government should not be too hasty in increasing wages since the economy has just recently fully reopened and many businesses are yet to fully recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Dapat hintayin natin muna kung ano ‘yung gagawin nila dito sa excise tax at sa VAT (value-added tax). Kung tatanggalin ‘yung excise tax, baka makakatulong diyan sa pagtataas ng gasolina,” he said.
“Importante kasi ngayon ‘yung job employment at wala pang isang buwan na bukas ang economy natin, medyo gumaganda ‘yung mga benta ng mga maliliit na negosyante,” he added.
Implementing an increase in the minimum wage may be too early, Concepcion also pointed out, even noting that the government should do a balancing act since the Russian-Ukraine conflict may be resolved soon.
He said small to medium enterprises, as well those in the tourism sector, which have only resumed operations recently, would have difficulty if there would be a wage hike.
“We have to give them time. I think hindi pa rin tayo sigurado dito sa presyo dahil biglaan ang pagtaas dahil sa conflict. Kung mawala ‘yung conflict then bababa ‘yung mga commodities,” Concepcion said.
(We are not sure of the prices because they only went up due to the conflict. If the conflict subsides, the prices will go down, too.)
“This might be a situation that might just be there temporarily. If we increase the wages, hindi naman pwede bawiin ‘yung mga binigay na wages. I think the government and the private sector will have to have more discussions here,” he added.
(If we increase wages, we cannot take it back if the oil prices go down.)
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) have so far filed six petitions for a P750 national minimum wage.
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