People line up for cash aid during the strict lockdown. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS
By Jenina P. Ibanez, Reporter
THE PRIVATE SECTOR’S job creation program will likely be delayed due to the reimposition of strict lockdowns, although the year-end target has been retained.
Private sector groups such as the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP) in partnership with the government in June pledged to create a million jobs by the end of 2021.
The businesses said they would help identify job vacancies for unemployed Filipinos and make recommendations to the government’s employment recovery task force.
ECoP President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said in a mobile message on Saturday that the recent lockdowns in Metro Manila delayed the project implementation by a month, although the one million full-year goal will stay.
“We are doubling efforts to make up for (the delay),” he said.
Unemployment soared last year as lockdown restrictions were put in place to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, with the jobless rate hitting a record 17.6% in April 2020.
The unemployment rate has since eased to 6.9%, translating to three million jobless Filipinos, in July this year.
The government’s National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) task force said it would assist private sector efforts by providing worker profiles for job vacancy referrals, promote alternative work arrangements, train workers, and help facilitate vaccination for qualified workers.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte in June signed the executive order creating the task force to implement the government’s employment recovery plans until 2022.
Business groups and trade unions last month said they need to be able to participate at the working-group level in the job recovery plan, asking the task force to have more dialogue with them.