ECOP faces delay in 1 M new jobs pledge

Published August 23, 2021, 2:16 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The 1 million new jobs generation commitment by the private sector is unlikely to be achieved by end this year due to the lockdown and quarantine restrictions imposed by the national government and local government units (LGUs), the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said.

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Ferdinand “Perry” Ferrer, ECOP Governor and chair of Jobs Creation Committee, said during a virtual forum that their schedule has been pushed back by a month to the reimposition of hard lockdown in the National Capital Region and subsequent strict quarantine protocols in the provinces.

According to Ferrer, the private sector is already delayed by 30 days, which could mean pushing its target until January next year. He, however, said they are regularly meeting with the committee and are collaborating with the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) Task Force to push for the fulfillment of the 1 million jobs pledge by end this year. The 1 million new jobs pledge was supposed to be created in six months only or from July to December this year.

“Our mindset is we are still trying to complete (the 1 million jobs pledge by end this year) but the indication is there is difficulty,” he said citing the problem of transportation among workers and the vaccination of economic frontliners.

To facilitate hiring, he said, the private sector is helping government in the vaccination of workers.

On transportation, Ferrer said workers are having difficulty going to worksites. For instance, he said, Calabarzon firms are hiring from Quezon and Bicol provinces but because of various protocols of LGUs, they have a hard time hiring.

As such, ECOP is working with the NERS for the issuance of health travel pass especially for workers in the construction sector, which has the highest jobs generation contribution. There are lots of opportunities for hiring from southern part of Luzon for construction projects in the Metro Manila but applicants cannot come to the worksites because of the health protocols.

With these issues hampering hiring, Ferrer said, “We are looking at one month delay or until January 2022.”

Ferrer, who is chairman and CEO of the EMS Group of Companies, said they are working with Microsoft to assist ECOP in coming up with a more streamlined data.

As of June this year, the estimated newly hired workers stood at 260,000 to 270,000 only.

He also clarified that the 1 million new jobs pledge by the private sector do not include those being hired to help run the campaigns of politicians for the May 2022 national and local elections.

“We are for hotels, restaurants, business process outsourcing, manufacturing and construction industries,” he said.

When the employers group signed the pledge on June 30, 2021 during ECOP’s 42nd National Conference of Employers on the theme ““Reform.Rebound. Recover”. However, in less than two months after the government reimposed the lockdown in the National Capital Region while the provinces also imposed strict protocols.

The new jobs are expected coming from four major sectors – electronics, outsourcing, construction, and tourism.

It could be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 140 or the P1.14-trillion NERS for the adoption of the recovery strategy for the country’s labor market.

The EO also institutionalizes the 20-agency NERS Task Force that will implement the programs from 2021 to 2022 in response to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is tasked to help in the recovery of the sector through the creation of policies that will encourage generation and improve access to employment, livelihood and trainings; improvement of employability, wellness, and productivity of workers; and the establishment of support to existing and emerging businesses to ensure preservation of employment.

 
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