Workers group eyes new wage hike petition

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 10 2013 05:27 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2013 01:33 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) thumbs down a planned petition to raise wages by a large labor group in order for workers to cope with rising costs of uilities and higher PhilHealth contributions.

ECOP President Ed Lacson says the suggestion may create more damage than good for the business sector.

"Tataas nga ang minimum wage, wala namang trabaho," says Lacson who reiterated that the P30 hike approved last July 2012 is still being questioned by employers at the Court of Appeals.

Labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said they are mulling filing a fresh petition to raise wages after water utilities and Meralco announced they will raise rates this month.

PhilHealth contributions are also going up this month.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) called on the Energy Regulatory Commission to consider the economic impact of whatever decision it will make regarding higher electricity rates

Several petitions are pending with the regulator including the request of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation to raise the universal charge for all electricity consumers by P0.39/kwh to cover stranded costs and debts incurred by Napocor.

"The regulator should be a partner in bringing economic growth," says Jose Alejandro, the head of PCCI's Energy committee.

According to Alejandro, the country's electricity rates are highest in Asia including more progressive countries like Japan and Singapore.

Alejandro says even if subsidies given by other countries are removed, the Philippines' power rates will still be highest per kilowatt hour.

He appeals to the ERC to time the release of the decision in such a way that it will have less impact on businesses and the economy.

The ERC said last December that the decision on PSALM's stranded debts and costs petition is already up for resolution and a decision will come out early 2013.