AN official from the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) said they are going to appeal to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-Davao to reconsider the implementation of the second tranche of the regional wake hike.

Former president and current chairman of Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) president Antonio dela Cruz said in a press conference on Wednesday, June 29 that the chamber submitted a position paper to the RTWPB-Davao on the petition for a wage increase.

On June 3, 2022, the Wage Board approved the P47 increase in the daily wage in Davao Region, which will be given in two and three tranches.

According to Wage Order No. RBXI-21, a P31 wage increase is given to all sectors upon effectivity of the order and another P16 on January 1, 2023.

For retail/service establishments employing not more than 10 workers, an additional P15 is given on April 1, 2023.

After full implementation of the tranches, the minimum wage rate in the region will range from P438 to P443.

The new wage order took effect on June 19, 2022.

Dela Cruz admitted they were surprised by the RTWPB-Davao's order.

"Kami mismo sa among sector, sa among grupo, natingala na lang mi nga ing-ana kadako (In our sector, the chamber, we were surprised with how high the approved wage increase was)," he said said during the AFP-PNP Press Conference.

He added the approved wage increase "is way higher than the National Capital Region."

In a board meeting, Dela Cruz bared that some members wanted the deferment of the wage increase.

"But as we look into it, lisod pud banggaon ang (it would be hard for us to disobey the) Wage Board," the official said.

However, in their collective position, they said they are not opposing the wage increase, but the amount, he said, they recommended was between P16 to P20.

The recently approved amount, Dela Cruz said, would be difficult by the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to shoulder considering that they are still adjusting to cope with the economic losses brought about by the Covid-19 restrictions, which was further affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

"Because it is really difficult... daghan pa gasugod og balik (many businesses are starting to return to operation). Indeed, imo pa nang palabian, baka di na mi kabangon (if the increase is high, many business owners will struggle to recover)," he said.

He said they will not object to the implementation of the first tranche, and instead, DCCCII would exhaust their efforts in appealing for the adjustments in the implementation of the second tranche.

"We will continue advocating on the original proposal of the business community. Wala mi mag-ingon nga (We did not say) we don't want... but we will also look into sa problema nga atong giatubang (the problems we are facing)," he said.

He added, "We will adhere to the provision of the wage board on the first tranche, but on the second tranche, [We] will be working hard."

Bernie Al-ag, re-elected Davao City Councilor, meanwhile, welcomed the move for the wage hike.

Al-ag, also a business owner, said the increase is justifiable considering the increasing prices of basic goods and commodities.

"Ang hangyo lang nako sa mga negosyante, kung kaya ninyo ihatag, or more than this mahatag nato, ihatag nato sa empleyado (My appeal to all businesses, if you can give more to your employees, then do it)," the councilor said.

SunStar Davao is still trying to reach out to RTWPB-Davao for comment on DCCCII's proposal.

In a previous statement, TUCP President and Partylist Representative Raymond Mendoza said the wage increase approved by RTWPB-Davao is not enough considering the current increase in prices of food and other basic commodities.

"This wage increase order issued by the Region 11 wage board will have a very, very small and passing impact in helping workers cope with the very expensive cost of living in light of continuing increases in prices of food, basic commodities, and cost of services," Mendoza said in a statement forwarded to SunStar Davao.

TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, meanwhile, said that they won't be appealing the wage order as it would only delay the order.

"We will no longer appeal the wage hike order because it will further delay the implementation and prolong the suffering of the workers," Tanjusay said. RGL