Economic growth, yes but…

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MANILA, April 27, 2015 –- While the Philippine economy grew significantly in the labor market during the past years, the need continues to generate decent and productive work to bring about inclusive growth.

This was how the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Manila looks at trends in Philippine employment this year. In a report released recently, high economic growth was observed with 7.2 and 6.1% in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Labor Undersecretary Reydeluz Conferido (centre) said measures to generate inclusive growth in employment have been in place, way after 2016. Others in photo are FFW's Vice President Julius Kinglet (extreme left), ILO's Ma Lourdes Macapampan (second from left) and ECOP's Jose Roland Moya (extreme right). (Photo: Melo M. Acuña)

Jose Roland Moya, Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines’ Deputy Director General agreed the challenge for everyone is to make job generation more inclusive.

More investors

He said the ILO report highlights the necessity to encourage more investors to consider the Philippines as a manufacturing center for Asia.

However, Undersecretary for Employment Facilitation Reydeluz Conferido said it is not solely the concern of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to generate employment opportunities, but a concerted effort of all to bring more investors into the Philippines. He admitted some manufacturers have considered Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar over the Philippines.

Federation of Free Workers’ Assistant Vice President Julius Cainglert said the gap between the country’s rich and poor has continuously widened and has not helped the country bring more employment despite economic gains.

Decent work

Kilusang Mayo Uno’s vice chairman Lito Ustarez said the continuous rise in overseas workers only proves the lack of decent and sustainable jobs in the country. He added there lies a need for more jobs other than the contractualized work as some popular malls and fast food chains offer.

Still, Conferido said the present administration recognizes that the demand for decent work goes beyond 2016, as programs have been put in place by the government to generate jobs for the future. He mentioned DOLE’s programs during this morning’s Tapatan sa Aristocrat, which focused on Philippine labor trends and on the coming Labor Day celebration on Friday, May 1.

Ustarez noted how the lack of gainful employment has provoked thousands of working-age Filipinos to seek employment elsewhere, as in the case of the beleaguered death convict Mary Jane Veloso.

Poor implementation?

Former Senator Ernesto F. Herrera, president of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines called on the DOLE to be more pro-active in the enforcement of labor laws nationwide.

“We have enough laws to protect workers and investments alike but what is needed is effective enforcement,” the former senator said.

ILO Program Officer Lourdes Macapampan said there is a need to get the major players into dialogue. She was referring to the tripartite mechanism they’ve found effective.

“There is a need to get the government, labor and employers into a lively discussion of issues that affect everyone,” Macapampan said. She added that government, employers and workers should also look at the most vulnerable workers in society. (Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)

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