Western Visayas businessmen seek freeze in wage levels | Inquirer News

Western Visayas businessmen seek freeze in wage levels

/ 08:49 PM December 10, 2013

ABLE-BODIED men get work from Tzu Chi Foundation in the cleanup campaign in Tacloban City, but businessmen in areas hit by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” elsewhere are appealing for a freeze in wage rates. RAFFY LERMA

ILOILO CITY—Business owners in Western Visayas are seeking a moratorium on wage increases amid extensive damage to business establishments wrought by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

In a Dec. 6 letter to Ponciano Ligutom, Department of Labor and Employment regional director, officials of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Western Visayas said a moratorium on wage increases should be in place “until such time that small and medium enterprises have fully recovered from this catastrophic event.”


The business leaders said several of the chamber’s members have reported closing their establishments due to lack of capital to reconstruct damaged or destroyed infrastructure and to replace pieces of machinery and transport equipment that the storm destroyed.


“This call for a moratorium on all wage increases is aimed at bringing about political stability, economic recovery and improved local governance to the hard-hit provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, Aklan, Negros Occidental and Guimaras,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by Roberto Montelibano, PCCI Western Visayas governor; Frank Carbon, president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Joe Marie Agriam, head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Iloilo Inc.

A P10-wage increase was implemented in the region starting Nov. 29, raising the daily minimum wage to P287.

Workers in nonagriculture, industrial and commercial establishments employing more than 10 workers will now receive P287 while those employed in establishments employing 10 workers or fewer will get P245.

The new wage rates for the agriculture sector are P245 and P255.

Economic planners earlier said the region would experience an economic slowdown due to massive damage caused by Yolanda to agriculture, fisheries and infrastructure.


Ro-Ann Bacal, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) regional director, said the economic slowdown in the region would also affect even local government units (LGUs) due to a decline in real estate and business taxes.

“Many properties and businesses were damaged or destroyed and this would have implications on revenues of LGUs,” Bacal told the Inquirer.

The rehabilitation of typhoon-ravaged areas would take at least three years and would cost about P11.7 billion, according to the Neda office in Western Visayas.

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The cost will include P4.3 billion for Iloilo, P2.9 billion for Antique, P2.8 billion for Capiz, P492 million for Aklan and P370 million for Negros Occidental. Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas

TAGS: Labor, News, Regions, wage issues

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