Wage hikes will worsen inflation, Bacolod biz sector warns anew

Business sector says government should focus on strengthening food security.*

The Bacolod business sector that is opposing the proposed bill on increasing wages across the board warned anew that it will just worsen the country’s inflation rate.

Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) Chief Executive Officer Frank Carbon told DIGICAST NEGROS on Monday that the government should focus on strengthening food security and developing more rural areas in the country rather than increasing wages across the board.

Carbon, who is in Manila to attend the regular Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) board meeting, said the inflation rate will increase if this bill will push through as business owners will just pass on the additional expenses to their products and services.

In March, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubirii filed Senate Bill 2002, or the Across-the-Board Wage Increase Act of 2023, which seeks a pay increase of ₱150 nationwide.

The Senate is reportedly aiming to approve the bill before their break in June.

On Sunday, eight business groups, including PCCI opposed the proposed bill.

Their statement said that raising wages may appear to be a logical solution but it would only benefit 26 percent of the 50 million total employees of the formal sector.

Carbon said that the bill will worsen the situation of the medium, small, and micro-enterprises and informal sector who cannot afford to implement the increase.

“It will just inflict more hunger and pain on the poor. The government must lessen importation and invest in local food production to decrease food prices,” Carbon said as he explained the government must focus on local food production as importation increases food prices.

The government should encourage the private sector to invest in rural areas and develop agriculture in the countryside by providing more tax incentives, he said.

With lowered prices through strengthening food production the problem of inflation can be addressed, he added.

Carbon also said that this issue on the across-the-board wage increase bill will be tackled in the PCCI board meeting and might be one of the agenda of the meeting of the Western Visayas Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board next month.*

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