Trade chief warns against regional wage hikes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 20) — Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez warned against the possible negative effects of a regional wage increase.

This comes at the heels of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announcing that minimum wages in the Visayas region are set to increase.

READ: Minimum wage hike in Visayas way below labor groups' demands

During a press conference in Malacañang, Lopez told reporters that an increase in regional minimum wage rates could promote further inflation.

"Pag nag-increase tayo dyan, tataas ang cost. Kapag tumaas ang cost baka ito ang magtulak ng taas ng presyo ng mga bilihin at tatamaan ang buong sambayanan," Lopez said.

[Translation: If we increase wages, companies would incur more costs. If the cost is higher, it could pressure them to raise prices which would be felt by the whole nation.]

Lopez recommended that an increase in the regional minimum wage rate should also be based on inflation.

"There can be consideration because of inflation, there can be a minimal adjustment that would not be more than necessary," the Trade secretary said.

The minimum wage rate increase in Visayas will be implemented starting June 25.