AmCham wants RP to open service sector

Published by rudy Date posted on December 15, 2008

The employment problem, which is expected to worsen next year, will be eased if the government opens the country’s service sector, the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Inc. (AmCham) said.

“This will help solve the unemployment problem,” AmCham executive director Robert Sears told The Star in an interview.

According to Sears, the country should allow foreign architects, engineers and doctors to practice in the country.

Sears said this will help jumpstart the industries and attract more foreign firms to locate here.

Sears said contrary to fears that the foreigners would take away jobs from Filipinos, allowing foreigners to practice here would open up more opportunities.

“They won’t be hiring foreigners for everything. Filipinos are excellent managers,” he noted.

“This is the best time to do it because firms are looking for cheaper destinations,” he explained further.

Only 500,000 new jobs are expected to be created next year, half of the usual one million new employment opportunities generated each year, the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said.

“Before we used to have one million new jobs yearly. Next year we cannot meet that target,” ECOP president Sergio Ortiz-Luis said in an interview.

According to him, the formal sector is expected to shrink further to 12 percent from this year’s 16 percent. This means that only 4.7 million Filipinos will be employed in the formal sector.

“Those graduating may not all get jobs but those who have jobs are expected to keep it,” he said.

Meanwhile, ECOP past president Miguel Varela said that 700,000 workers are expected to be displaced next year. He said these people are working in what they call “vulnerable sectors”. Of which, 500,00 are working overseas while the 200,000 are employed locally. –Ma. Elisa P. Osorio, Philippine Star

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