The Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Panglao Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and Bohol Association of Hotel, Resorts and Restaurant (BAHRR) have expressed their opposition to the petition for a P100 increase of the minimum wage in the region.
In a meeting yesterday, the three business groups stated their position during the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) Public Hearing held on August 10, 2023.
According to BCCI President Dominic Butalid, the proposed wage hike is not feasible given the current economic situation of the province, which is still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Butalid said that many businesses have closed down or reduced their operations due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed by the government.
He added that increasing the labor cost would further burden the employers and affect their competitiveness in the market.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) echoed Butalid’s sentiments and said that the Panglao tourism industry is still struggling to regain its pre-pandemic level of income and employment.
PCCI said that the wage increase would only result in more layoffs and closures of hotels, resorts, and restaurants in the island.
The national organization appealed to the RTWPB to consider the plight of the business owners and workers who depend on tourism for their livelihood.
BAHRR also opposed the wage hike and said that it would not benefit the workers in the long run.
BAHRR said that instead of increasing the minimum wage, the government should focus on providing more assistance and incentives to the businesses and workers affected by the pandemic.
The group suggested that the government should implement programs such as cash subsidies, tax breaks, low-interest loans, skills training, and vaccination to help them cope with the crisis.
The petition for a P100 increase of the minimum wage was filed by the Central Visayas Regional Wage Board (CVRWB) last June 30, 2023.
Petitioners from Bohol claimed that the current minimum wage of P404 per day is not enough to meet the basic needs of the workers and their families.
They argued that the rising prices of goods and services due to inflation and other factors have eroded their purchasing power and living standards.
RTWPB is expected to issue its decision on the petition within 30 days after conducting public hearings and consultations with various stakeholders in the region.
RTWPB is composed of representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), employers’ group, and workers’ group.