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‘Minimal’ wage hike fine with DTI

By Kris Crismundo MANILA-- Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said a significant increase in wages in the country could be “dangerous,” but a “minimal adjustment” is acceptable due to the recent spike in inflation. In a press briefing in Malacañan Palace Wednesday, Lopez said that should regional wage boards decide to increase the salary of workers, the increment must be based on the price pressures in the region. He said raising wages that is “more than the necessary” increase will be dangerous, as it will exacerbate inflationary pressures. “The reality is, not all are wage earners. If we implement wage hike, the cost will also increase. If the cost increases, this may push further pressure on prices of goods. And of course, we are all affected even those who are not wage earners. So, those who do not benefit from wage hike will also get affected,” he said in Filipino. “There can be consideration because of the inflation. So if you ask me, there can be a minimal adjustment. But that should not be more than what is necessary, that’s the point. Because you will really create a strong pressure on inflation,” the DTI chief added. Last month, the Makabayan party-list bloc filed House Bill No. 7787, which seeks a national daily minimum wage of PHP750. Early this month, a labor group also sought for a minimum wage of PHP800 per day. But for Lopez, creating a good demand for Filipino workers by inviting more companies to invest here will drive the increase in wages in the country. In order to increase labor demand, he mentioned that the overall business environment should be attractive to investors, wherein there is peace and order, industrial peace, and a pool of talent with enough skill set that meets the requirement of industries. “Our priority is job generation and skills training. For me, that’s the solution to increase wages,” the official said. (PNA)

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