Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Philippines eyes creation of three million new jobs this year


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s P330-billion emergency livelihood program for the poor and out-of-school youth (OSY) is expected to create three million jobs this year on top of the regular job-generation programs of various government agencies.

This was disclosed by Secretary Domingo Panganiban of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) at a joint press briefing with Press Secretary Jesus G. Dureza this afternoon (Jan. 20) in Malacanang.

Panganiban and Dureza said some 1.5 million jobs are expected to be created and filled by June 30 alone and another 1.5 million by year-end, or a total of three million jobs for the year.

The administration had initially targeted the creation of one million emergency jobs as part of the program to pump-prime the economy this year, but based on “indications of what has been reported to us… we might go beyond 1.5 million after June 30,” Panganiban said.

By the second half of the year, “we could create another P1.5 [sic] million jobs, or approximately three million jobs” for the whole year, he added.

The original allocation for the emergency employment program was P300 billion, but this has been raised to P330 billion. The additional amount of P30 billion will be contributed by government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).

The jobs to be generated by the emergency employment program include road maintenance, organic farming, farm-to-market roads, rehabilitation of government school buildings, hospitals, and irrigation systems, janitorial and security services for government installations, and “bantay-dagat” projects, among others.

Some 100,000 jobs are expected to be created and filled this month alone, with 50,000 jobs already created during the first half of the month for road maintenance, according to Panganiban.

The new jobs to be created under the program will make a “big dent on poverty (incidence) by about 25 percent.”

The administration’s emergency livelihood program is intended to cushion the impact on the country’s poor of the world economic meltdown.

Panganiban said that for purposes of project implementation, the country has been divided into various regions, with each region placed under Cabinet members. For instance, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro is in charge of SocSarGen (South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos).

Teodoro has started the emergency employment ball rolling last Saturday (Jan. 17) by opening the recruitment of workers from among the region’s poor.

Panganiban said Bayani Fernando, head of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), has also started the recruitment of unemployed workers in Metro Manila for government projects in the area.

The presidential assistants in every region have been tapped to help identify the people for employment in their own regions.

Panganiban stressed that the program is “really for the jobless.” Contrary to opposition charges, the employment program is not in furtherance of Charter change but the government’s way to uplift the lives of the country’s poorest of the poor at this time of deep economic stress worldwide.

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