Wage hike may fan inflation, trade chief says

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 20 2018 02:38 PM

Militant groups rally against higher taxes on consumer goods at a market in Manila. George Calvelo, ABS CBN News/File

MANILA -- A wage increase at this time will be "dangerous" since it can drive both production costs and consumer prices higher, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Wednesday.

Rather than a wage increase, the country should attract more investments to create more jobs, Lopez said.

At least one labor group has sought an increase in the minimum wage, after inflation quickened to its highest level in 5 years last April.

"Baka ito rin magtulak ng presyo. Kapag tumaas ang presyo ng bilihin, of course ang tatamaan buong sambayanan, hindi lang ‘yung wage earners," Lopez said.

(Prices could go up. If consumer prices increase, everyone will be affected, not just the wage earners.)

"We have to have investments and job creation activities so the wages will go up naturally, because of the supply and demand of jobs. That’s what we should aim for," Lopez said.

A "minimal adjustment" can be made, but it should not create "strong pressure" on inflation, he said.