Government, private sector to set up countryside development fund

Published by rudy Date posted on January 3, 2009

The government and the private sector will set up a countryside development fund to help those who will be displaced as a result of the slowdown in the global economy, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said.

“We have P100 million ready for those who will lose their jobs,” PCCI chairman Miguel Varela said.

Varela said the fund, which will be available in the first quarter, can be used to start businesses. He said the concept of microfinance lending will be used in disbursing the fund.

Varela said he is not sure how much the interest will be. “It will be considerably lower than the market rate.”

“We have to encourage people to be entrepreneurs. We want to help them,” he said.

Varela said it is expected that many will be laid off given that there are a number of firms, especially the ones located overseas, that are closing shop or employing less people.

He said the government and the private sector are realistic that it is not possible to create employment for all of them.

“We want to give them the necessary capital to probably start their own electronics or garments business,” Varela said. He said there are a lot of employees who lost their jobs in these two sectors.

“We would like them to enter a business that they are already familiar with so we are prioritizing these sectors,” he noted.

This year, only 500,000 new jobs are expected to be created, 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 1 million new jobs yearly,” ECOP president Sergio Ortiz-Luis said.

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.–Ma. Elisa P. Osorio, Philippine Star

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