A WEEK after filing its plea for a P710 across-the-board increase for Metro Manila’s private sector workers, the country’s biggest labor group filed a petition for a P386 increase for private sector employees in Central Visayas.

In its petition before the Region 7 Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) argued that “the measly P20 increase” in daily minimum wage to P313-386 that took effect on Aug. 3 last year “has long been dissipated by the high costs of basic goods and services…”

The TUCP blamed the first tax reform package that took effect in January 2018 that raised or added levies on goods and services but did not benefit minimum wage earners when it slashed personal income tax rates, since this worker class is exempt from income tax.

Official data show Region 7 with the lowest inflation rate of 1.3% among the Philippines’ 17 regions in April, down from 2.2% in March. — Gillian M. Cortez