Carlito Uy, president of the South Cotabato Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said their members have already set drastic cost-cutting measures for this year but they also vowed to keep their present work force intact.
"We're already affected by the global financial meltdown but I'm very positive that we will survive this eventually," he said.
Compared to other areas, Uy said local businesses were not much affected by the financial crisis since most of them are focused on domestic trade or local retailing and only a few are engaged in export trading.
He said the job layoffs might continue in the international scene and even in major national industries but it could be avoided in the local level.
"I think some cost-cutting measures will help solve our problems and we can always talk to our workers to help us out," he said.
But Uy is worried over possible proposals for another wage increase this year as local businesses are supposedly incapable of absorbing it.
"The proposals for a wage hike usually come out every year but we hope there won't be any this year," he said.
The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board of Region 12 approved in late May last year an additional P10 to P15.50 increase in the take home pay of minimum wage earners to help offset the effects of the rising prices of fuel and other basic commodities.
The increase brought the daily minimum wage in the region to at least P239.50.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Kidapawan, Koronadal, Cotabato and Tacurong. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)