SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) are expected to find it difficult to meet wage demands being made as prices rise, because they have yet to recover from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a Palace adviser said.  

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. A. Concepcion III said at a Laging Handa briefing on Monday that small and medium businesses will be unable to raise wages to the extent being demanded by labor leaders.  

’Yung mas malaking korporasyon, mas may kaya pero ’yung small to medium enterprises, iyon ang mahihirapan kasi sila talaga ang tinamaan (larger corporations will be more able to raise wages, but SMEs will find it difficult because they took much of the hit from the pandemic,” Mr. Concepcion said.

Mr. Concepcion said the tourism sector in particular will be challenged in meeting any wage demands as they are still recouping their losses.

Kababangon lang niyan. Halos two years na walang negosyo. So, bumabangon pa lang sila. We have to give them time. At this point, hindi pa bumabalik ’yung tourism (industry) natin (They have just made it through the crisis, when they endured nearly two years with no business. They are still recovering from the pandemic. We have to give them time. At this point, tourism has not yet recovered)” Mr. Concepcion said.  

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines and Partido Manggagawa have called for wage hikes to address rising fuel and commodities prices.

According to the National Wages and Productivity Commission, the daily minimum wage in Metro Manila is between P500 and P537.   

Mr. Concepcion called for more talks between the government and the private sector on wage hike proposals.

Hindi pa rin tayo sigurado rito sa mga presyo kasi biglaan ang pagtaas dahil sa (Russia-Ukraine) conflict. Kung mawala ’yung conflict, then bababa lahat ng commodities. (We are not sure on prices since there was sudden increase due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict). If the conflict is resolved, then commodity prices may go down. This might be a temporary situation. I think the government and the private sector will need to have more discussions here,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave