ECOP President and Honorary Chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PCCI) Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr., represented the employers during the 27th Metro Manila Business Conference with the theme “Riding the Waves of Enterprise Growth Amid Glo-cal Disruption” on June 26-27, 2019, at The Manila Hotel.

In the opening session entitled “Mutual Gain or Zero Sum: Striking a Balance between Employer – Employee Concerns for a Sustainable Economic Growth”, Mr. Ortiz-Luis expressed the concerns of employers on contentious proposed policies and bills, particularly on labor, that have tremendous negative implications on business, including  the legislations on minimum wage and security of tenure.

On minimum-wage setting, Mr. Ortiz-Luis explained that regional minimum wage fixing has been done on a tripartite basis and had worked so far since 1989. However, despite the existence of an already effective system of determining wage, legislators keep pushing for bills that mandate across-the-board excessive wage increase,  a national minimum wage, and even abolition of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs).

“Minimum wage fixing should be depoliticized. Wage determination should be the function of the RTWPBs, not Congress. Any unjustified increase will be particularly injurious to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) and will scare investors away from the provinces,” he explained.

On the other hand, Mr. Ortiz-Luis also expressed his opinion on security of tenure. He believes that passing this bill is counterproductive especially for businesses which are dealing with the changing world of work.

Under the future of work, there will be an unprecedented rise of independent contractors, telework, and a constellation of other internet-enabled companies. In fact, the regulatory framework must be re-examined to make it more flexible to facilitate business and job creation instead of obstructing new forms of employment as what would be the consequence of the security of tenure bill in the event it is signed into law.

“Do not legislate the generosity of employers, do not make stringent, unreasonable legislation that will harm the micro, small and medium enterprises which comprise 98% of the economy, decriminalize the country’s labor laws and focus on enforcing existing laws, focus attention in creating more and preserving existing jobs and let companies and their respective unions strengthen their bipartite relations and engage in social dialogue at the local level,” he noted.

Mr. Ortiz-Luis emphasized that employers have always supported laws and policies that will truly be beneficial to the economy as a whole – those that attract investment, generate productive employment, and preserve existing jobs.

“Instead of fixing what is not broken, let workers and their employers help each other in fostering a culture of responsible and ethical business conduct that will eventually translate into industrial peace and harmonious labor-management relations,”Ortiz-Luis said.