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Wage hike discussions go on in Bicol

By Paulo DS Papa

Businessmen in Naga City and Camarines Sur are eagerly awaiting a new wage order from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) this month, as they contemplate the possibility of a minimum wage increase.

Earlier this month, DOLE conducted consultations with both local employers and employees in the region to gauge the need for minimum wage adjustments.

According to DOLE Regional Director Zenaida Campita, the extent of these wage adjustments will be determined based on the feedback gathered during these consultations. She mentioned that a wage order will be issued approximately 30 days after the regional consultations.

Mario Villanueva, President of the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, emphasized that business owners are carefully evaluating their market conditions amidst discussions about potential salary adjustments. He pointed out that salaries constitute a significant portion of business operational costs and any adjustment will impact their operations.

Last December, DOLE implemented a salary increase of around P50.00 for business owners, and they are considering another raise this year. Villanueva expressed concern, particularly for small and medium enterprises already employing workers, as they could be most affected by the increase. He suggested that a smaller increase be considered and potentially implemented next year.

On the other hand, Tess Delfin, Vice President for Public Relations at the Camarines Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry, highlighted that an increase in wages may lead to limitations in the supply of essential products needed for production.

She provided an example from her own resort business in Libmanan, where maintaining swimming pools requires an adequate supply of chlorine. She emphasized that if the increase is implemented, it might affect the availability of such critical products, impacting businesses like hers.


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