KALIBO, Aklan – Four chapters of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) expressed support to the proposed wage increase in Western Visayas.

These are the chapters in Aklan, Boracay, Capiz, and Bacolod City.

They have submitted to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board separate manifestos of support.

The PCCI’s Iloilo chapter also submitted a manifesto – but against the proposed salary increase.

Petitioning for the wage hike is the Philippine Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Workers Union – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

The group wanted an additional P130 to P150 daily minimum wage increase on top of the current P271.50 and P323.50, depending on the industry and the number of workers employed.

Its petition cited the reduction of the purchasing power of workers in view of the increases in the prices of basic commodities and fuel.

The last minimum wage order in the region took effect on March 16 last year.

Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Frank Carbon particularly praised the Aklan and Boracay chapters for supporting the proposal.

In Boracay especially, many business did not close despite the mandatory six-month closure for rehabilitation imposed by the government, said Carbon, a former PCCI regional governor.

“They keep [their businesses] open. In fact, they are willing to raise the minimum wage,” Carbon said.

“I don’t have an explanation for this unselfish and selfless action but I believe this is the right thing to do at the moment,” he added.

PCCI-Aklan president Ramel V. Buncalan confirmed that they have submitted a position paper supporting the proposal wage hike.

“As early as March when the then impending ‘Boracay closure’ was abruptly announced without due consultation and planning, businesses in the island and mainland Aklan had already felt reduced confidence in doing business in the province,” read part of the position paper.

“Despite these challenges, businesses have implemented intermediary mechanisms to maintain their workforce until losses would have been recovered in the anticipated opening of a ‘better’ Boracay Island,” it added./PN

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