Wage hikes in the Philippines: Leave it to the wage boards

When it comes to wage hikes in the Philippines, only tripartite regional wage boards should be the ones to make decisions on when to implement, say critics.
By: | February 27, 2024
Topics: News | Philippines

Wage hike decisions should be best left to the regional wage boards in the Philippines.

This is what the president of an umbrella organisation of employers, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, believes in.

“Staggered basis is precisely what the tripartite regional wage board has been doing,” said Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr, President of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, when asked to opine on the suggestion to have the proposed P100 (US$1.78) wage-hike staggered over time. “All these increases should be well studied, calibrated and balanced by the board,” he said.

The sentiment of staggering wage hikes was also something supported by Joey Concepcion, Lead for the jobs cluster of the Private Sector Advisory Council, and Founder of Go Negosyo (or the Philippine Centre for Entrepreneurship). He shared that while he supported the proposed wage hike, the hikes should be spread over some time.

This sentiment has been exemplified in past administrations, where wage increases, particularly in those in the National Capital Region (NCR), had been implemented gradually. This included three wage increases amounting to a total of P79 (US$1.41) during Robert Duerte’s administration, and four wage increases during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III, totalling P57 (US$1.02).

Under the current Marcos administration, a wage increase of P40 (US$0.71) for employees in the NCR has already taken place in July 2023, reported the Philippine Star.

READ MORE: Gradual wage hike and workforce upskilling debated in the Philippines

Arsenio Balisacan, Secretary, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), has said the proposed P100 wage hike would reduce economic growth, and lead to higher inflation and unemployment. 

Wage improvements, he added, should be negotiated at the regional level. “Allowing those negotiations to take place at the regional level would take into account those significant differences in the labour market conditions and economic conditions in those areas,” he said.