Metro Manila along with other areas across the country will remain under Alert Level 1, the lowest level of COVID-19 restrictions, until the end of the month, Malacañang announced Sunday.
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said these micro-enterprises “are already struggling” from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the high cost of commodities because of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Concepcion said these “very small” businesses usually have very little capital and that whatever is earned for a day of operations is usually used just to keep the small business going.
He added that many of these small businesses are already in debt.
“We have to make this exemption for them because these are not ordinary times,” Concepcion told ABS-CBN.
The Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands (CCPI), meanwhile, said the next administration should decide on the minimum wage hike.
The CCPI said: “To increase wages now might put the Philippines on a less competitive edge to attract investments into the country.”
“We should wait for the incoming administration to settle down first and let them make the decision. Employers, however, can include free or subsidized meals, clothing, shuttle transport to help alleviate the up and down movement of prices of basic necessities,” CCPI president Jose Luis Yulo said.
Minimum wage earners in the National Capital Region will have a P33 daily wage hike, while those in Western Visayas (Region 6) will receive an increase of up to P110.
With the salary adjustment, Metro Manila workers in the non-agriculture sector will be receiving P570 in daily wage while those working in the agriculture sector will get P533.
The last wage order for employees in private establishments in Metro Manila was issued on November 22, 2018, granting a P25 increase in the minimum wage.
The wage adjustment was significantly lower than the wage hike petitions filed by major labor groups in NCR.
The Associated Labor Unions and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines have sought a P470 increase in the National Capital Region.
The increase in minimum wage comes as inflation hit 4.9 percent in April, reportedly the fastest since December 2018, when it reached 5.2 percent.
Other wage boards are also studying the possibility of increasing minimum wages in their areas.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) meanwhile reported that jobless Filipinos stood at 2.87 million in March, bringing the unemployment rate to 5.8 percent, which is the lowest since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.