By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star), Oct 9, 2017
MANILA, Philippines — Employers are against any further increase in the minimum wage as well as to the proposed hike in the monthly contribution of Social Security System (SSS) members.
Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Donald Dee said the current minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) is already among the highest in the region, while the planned SSS contribution increase would only serve as a “band aid solution.”
“We cannot anymore increase (the minimum wage). We are already the highest in Southeast Asia. It’s out of the question,” Dee said.
Minimum wage earners in the private sector in Metro Manila started receiving an additional P21 per day in their basic pay since Oct. 5, following the approval of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region of Wage Order NCR-21 which prescribed new wage levels for all minimum wage earners. It also sets the minimum wage for non-agricultural workers to P512 from P491.
Including benefits, Dee said a minimum wage earner in NCR currently takes home a total of around P700 a day.
“From the beginning we said it is not going to help because the mindset is since the peso is depreciating, let’s pass it on to wages. What kind of solution is this?” Dee said.
“What I am going to push for is for Pag-IBIG to front end the building of dormitories so our workers can live within the area where they work and they save on transportation, the money therefore they can use for other expenses because transportation is a big component of their income. So it’s things like these that need to be looked at,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dee said the proposed SSS contribution increase is also being opposed by ECOP “because this is additional cost.”
“This thing of SSS is additional cost. It is band aid because we’re not looking at how efficient their investments have been,” he said.
The state pension fund is under pressure to increase pension for retirees.
“We recognize the burden of trying to cover the difficulties or the undervaluing of the pension because our old people are saying that it’s not enough. But you cannot always do a short term or band aid solution because this is like what happened in the wages. Government just tends to do band aid solutions,” he said.
Dee said ECOP would submit its official position paper together with its suggestions to the SSS next month.
SSS president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Dooc earlier said the pension fund would push through with the planned increase in members’ contributions in 2018, a year after President Duterte granted a P1,000 hike in benefits to pensioners.
This, however, was contradicted by SSS chairman Amado Valdez who said there is no plan yet to undertake such hike and that the contribution increase is being considered as a last option.