Employer’s and worker’s groups agreed copra price dictates purchasing power
TACLOBAN CITY – Representatives of both employers and worker’s groups have agreed that the low price of copra is the real economic concern in the region and not the low wage or rising prices of basic commodities.
Lawyer Miguel Tezon, worker’s representative to the regional tripartite wages and productivity board (RTWPB), said that less vibrant copra trading has weakened the purchasing power of households.
“Our major concern is not the high cost of goods but the low copra price because it dictates economic activities in the region,” Tezon said in a telephone interview.
He made this statement while the RTWPB is undertaking a review on the current wage structure in the region. The board is through with public consultations and a final public deliberation set on September 4.
Orlando Uy, employers’ representative to the wage board, argued that a wage increase would be untimely because of the low copra price in the region — the top coconut producer in the country — resulting in poor sales for local businesses due to households’ weak purchasing power.
“The price of copra has dropped. We in the business sector are seeing the effect on the weak purchasing power of people due to lower income,” Uy said separately.
The Philippine Coconut Authority reported that the average mill gate price of copra, dried coconut meat that is processed into coconut oil, plunged from P36.20 in January to P21 last week, the lowest price recorded in the past two years.
According to PCA, 80% of the rural population in the region is dependent on copra production for their living. Majority of the region’s population are indirectly affected by copra price fluctuation.
During the coconut week celebration, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said that businessmen are also keeping their eye on copra trading price to come up with realistic sales outlook.
“Higher copra price means better income to those engaged in transportation, retail, and other businesses,” Petilla added. (SARWELL Q. MENIANO)
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