GPH pushes for more jobs in dev’t forum

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/04 Feb) —  More jobs, more growth.

In his opening remarks at the start of the two-day Philippine  Development Forum (PDF) on Monday morning, Motoo Konishi, Philippine director of the World Bank and PDF co-chair said the forum is about inclusive growth and “what I mean by inclusive growth is creating jobs.”

Konishi noted that  at present, 10 million Filipinos are either unemployed or underemployed, while 1.1 million new Filipinos enter the labor force every year.

“That’s a total of 14.6 million jobs that need to be created between now and 2016,” he said in his speech, copies of which were distributed to the media.

The domestic job market in the formal, services, manufacturing, industries and jobs abroad “are not enough to absorb so many people getting into the labor force,” said Konishi.

He said agribusiness and agriculture sectors must contribute more significantly to address joblessness and reduce poverty.

“In rising to the challenge, we need to understand that there is no simple magic formula to address this situation,” he said.

In a press conference, Secretary Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority said  government is pushing employment this year and beyond so that the growth will fully become inclusive.

In a speech delivered in a closed door forum, copies of which were e-mailed to the media, Balisacan said there is a need to create new drivers for growth particularly in manufacturing, business process outsourcing (BPO), tourism, and agribusiness.

“Our interest in these sectors is based on their potential for creating high quality jobs,” he said.

He noted that the initial estimates suggest that US$3B in investments in these sectors will create 621,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly through multiplier effects.

“The BPO and manufacturing sectors present great opportunities for value adding as well as innovation and technology spill overs,” he said, adding that tourism expands job opportunities in the countryside.

To generate more and better employment, “we need to simplify labor regulations to enable industries to adapt to the country’s changing economic structure,” he said.

“We will also continue to address problems of skills mismatch,” he noted.

Secretary Florencio Abad of the Department of Budget and Management told a press conference the service sector continues to contribute to the growth of employment.

The challenges, he added, are how to re-energize and revitalize the service sectors, and identify products to help increase labor productivity.

To achieve inclusive growth, Abad said there is a need for good governance and to improve the infrastructure and business and financial environment.

To sustain the growth momentum and to achieve inclusive growth are not contradicting, as the inclusive growth is not just a goal but a growth strategy, Balisacan said in his speech.

“The sooner we can address the challenges ahead of us, the sooner we can achieve inclusive growth and development,” he said. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)