MANILA – The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on Wednesday said employers' benefits could cushion the minimum wage in the private sector, as calls for a wage hike continue.
ECOP President Sergio Ortiz Luis said Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri's P150 across-the-board minimum wage hike for private sector workers must be consulted with various stakeholders.
Luis reiterated that only those in the formal sector could benefit from this, which make up only 16 percent of the workforce. The remaining 84 percent, he said, would be at a disadvantage.
"Yung 84 percent, sino ba yan? Mga farmers, fisherfolk, vendors, mga small industries... Wala namang mga employers yan. Kapag magtataas ka ng sweldo, sino magtataas mg sweldo nila? Eh 84 percent sila ng manggagawa," said Luis in a televised briefing.
The private sector could bank on their benefits instead, to cushion the current minimum wage but issues on this, too, need to be addressed.
"Yung malalaking employers. Ano lang, magbigay ng benepisyo, mataas. Marami naman mas mataas naman ang binibigay. Ang problema natin ay paano natin maisusulong yun? Minsan 13th month pay lang hindi pa mabayaran," he said.
"'Yung pasweldo na binibigay buwan buwan, minsan pahirapabn
Hindi lang yun ang pinag-uusapan," he said.
He also responded to critics who said the minimum wage in the Philippines was not competitive, calling it "misinformation."
Among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states, Luis said the Philippines ranked second in terms of the highest minimum wage, next to Indonesia.
"Maraming sinasabi na mababa ang sweldo ng Pilipinas, minimum wage. Sa totoo lang, pangalawa tayo sa pinakamataas sa ASEAN," he said.
"Ang totoo, dito (Philippines), mataas ang pagkain, mataas ang bilihin."
As of Wednesday, minimum wage rates in the capital region stood between P533 and P570.
Senator Chiz Escudero said that the P150 wage hike could be "too heavy" for micro, small and medium enterprises in the provinces.
MSMEs represent 99 percent of enterprises in the country, the 2021 list of establishments of the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.
Video from PTV