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ECOP Chief: PBBM’s foreign trips, opening up of the economy, major PH employment generator

Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s trips abroad and the opening up of the economy following the coronavirus pandemic are the main drivers of the increasing employment rate in the country, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said on Friday.

The Philippines’ employment rate increased by 95.5 percent in June this year, according to recent data.

In an interview during the Laging Handa Public Briefing on PTV4, Ortiz-Luis, who is also the president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport), was asked about the factors that contributed to the increase in local employment.

“Unang-una talaga tuloy-tuloy ‘yung pag-alis natin doon sa pandemic era at tuloy-tuloy ang pag-hire. Ang gobyerno naman tuloy-tuloy ang pag-encourage ng investment, at maraming biyahe ni Presidente. Hindi naman inaasahan na marami talagang iuuwing investors at ‘yun ay tuloy-tuloy,” he said, noting the marked increase in Board of Investments (BOI) and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) registrations.

“Sa katunayan, sa Philippine Chamber of Commerce (and Industry) halos every week mayroon kaming mga delegation na ini-entertain na nagtatanong, naghahanap ng ka-partner at kung ang mapapasukan nilang negosyo dahil sa mga biyahe ni Presidente.”

Among the industries that generated more jobs are construction, agriculture, administrative and food services, and public administration and defense on the government side, the ECOP head said.

To help the government in increasing further the country’s labor force, Ortiz-Luis said ECOP has been carrying out an advocacy campaign and forged an agreement with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), manufacturers, business process outsourcing (BPO), and tourism industry to create one million jobs.

“These are additional jobs at tuloy-tuloy ‘yung training, (job) matching na ginagawa namin para makatulong. And ‘yung mga problema like sa transportation, iyong…tinutulungan din namin doon tsaka ‘yung mga (job) mismatch na nangyayari, nakikipagtulungan kami sa DOLE kung paano mareresolba,” he said.

And with the gross domestic product (GDP) growing by 5.3 percent in the first half of 2023, Ortiz-Luis attributed it to the continued opening up of the economy, suggesting, however, that the government has to boost its spending to meet its GDP growth target this year.

“Ang target natin high of 7 percent, 6 percent, between that ‘yung target dito sa period na ‘to. Hindi natin na-meet ‘yun. Konting-konti lang umangat ‘yung ano natin so kailangan maghabol tayo,” he pointed out.

“Ako ang nakikita ko isang pinakamalaking kakulangan ‘yung spending ng gobyerno. Iyong mga budget nung mga departamento na hindi nagagasta, understandable naman kasi ‘yung mga tao, bagong administration, bagong mga tao, nag-aaral pa sila, hindi pa nila alam kung paano gamitin ‘yung mga pera. Pero siguro kailangan bilisan nila ‘yung paggamit ng mga budget.”

The Marcos government said it would accelerate spending in the coming quarters to recover the momentum following the 4.3 percent economic expansion of the country’s economy in the second quarter of this year.

“While government expenditure contracted by 7.1 percent in the absence of election-related spending in the first half of the year, government spending will accelerate in the coming quarters to allow us to recover our growth momentum,” the administration’s economic managers said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The Economic Team is composed of officials from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Finance (DOF) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), all designated as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s economic managers.

The Economic Development Group (EDG), according to the officials, has already been discussing how various government agencies can expedite the implementation of programs and projects for the rest of the year. | PND

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