Employers and government agencies on Wednesday, (June 30) signed a manifesto that seeks to create 1 million jobs by end this year to help address the high unemployment rate in the country and bring it back to pre-pandemic level.
The Manifesto on 1 Million Jobs for 2021-Partnership Project with the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) signed by the 7 biggest industry associations or the major jobs growth drivers and 7 government agencies under the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) Task Force highlighted the closing of the 42nd National Conference of Employers (NCE).
With the 42nd NCE theme “REFORM. REBOUND. RECOVER: ONE MILLION JOBS FOR 2021”, employers committed to source the 1 million jobs to Filipino talents for deployment in the construction, manufacturing (particularly semiconductors and electronics), tourism and hospitality, and export industries, under a policy environment that would help create jobs all over the country.
Based on the manifesto, employers will identify job vacancies from its member companies; find jobs for the qualified but unemployed; recommend to the NERS Task Force specific improvements in the business environment; coordinate with the NERS Task Force and provide necessary assistance in post-Job Caravan events (i.e. onboarding process, vaccination process and reskilling/upskilling referrals); co-organize and participate in Job Caravans; and provide other support and monitoring mechanisms in the implementation of the project.
ECOP Chairman Edgar Lacson emphasized the need to bring back the unemployment rate in the country to 2.1 percent pre-pandemic level.
In April this year, the country’s unemployment rate was down at 8.7 percent translating to 4 million jobless Filipinos from a high of 17.7 percent in April 2020, based on the Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Likewise, the PSA also announced that the gross domestic product
(GDP) shrank 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021, up from a 2020 average contraction of 9.6 percent.
Meanwhile, the NERS Task Force of the government shall facilitate coordination with the Inter Agency Task Force to secure vaccination for workers who will qualify in the partnership project; consult with and provide assistance to businesses, especially on improving the environment that can generate more jobs; provide profile of workers who can be referred to existing job vacancies; continue to implement the Telecommuting Act and promote other alternative work arrangements in accordance to existing laws and policies; provide training for workers who will not qualify for job vacancies; coordinate with Local Government Units (LGUs) on the provision of transportation services to workers who will get their vaccination jabs and need to transfer from one LGU to another; organize and invite relevant stakeholders in job caravans; and provide other support mechanisms in the implementation of the project.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez vowed to deliver their side of the agreement.
Lopez, who is chairman of the NERS Task Force, vowed that government will create a policy environment that encourages generation and improved access to employment, livelihood and training opportunities; improving employability, wellness, and productivity of workers by taking advantage of the opportunities in the labor market under the ‘New Normal’; and providing support to existing and emerging businesses to preserve and create employment.
“On behalf of the NERS Task Force, we commit also to delivering the deliverables from the government side and all the programs and policies that you were asking for,” said Lopez.
Through these efforts, he expressed hope to provide the needed jobs and employment Filipinos need— not only to survive the present pandemic, but to thrive and gain a more comfortable and better quality of life in the post-pandemic future.
ECOP job creation committee chairman Ferdinand Ferrer stressed that to hit the 1 million jobs pledge for 2021 a reality, government support is required in terms of health program, logistics and incentives.
The manifesto was signed by leaders of the business association signatories to include Edgardo G. Lacson, chairman of ECOP; Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of PhilExport; Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Eugene T. Yap, president of Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines; Wilfredo L. Decena, president of Philippine Constructors Association; Arthur M. Lopez, president Philippine Hotel Owners Association; and the Semiconductor Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.
The government signatories include DTI Sec. Lopez, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, TESDA Secretary Isido Lapena, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano, and Commission on Higher Education Chairman J. Prospero E. Devera.