DA to create jobs to counter crisis

Published by rudy Date posted on February 21, 2009

The government appears to be moving into high gear to create a million new jobs—its strategy to counter the impact of the global economic crisis on the Philippines.

The Department of Agriculture announced that it would create an initial 130,000 new jobs in the agriculture and fisheries sector this year. The department’s total target is 800,000 new jobs.

The announcement coincides with a statement from the Metro Manila Development Authority, (MMDA) that it also plans to hire more people. And on Thursday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it would hire more than 100,000 workers for upland projects.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the department would open up 81,134 jobs in repair and rehabilitation of irrigation facilities nationwide; 10,400 under its organic fertilizer production program; 36,500 jobs in the construction of farm-to-market roads; and 3,645 jobs in its goal dispersal program. The total comes to 131,679 new jobs under the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP).

“The jobs to be created in the agricultural sector represents about one-sixth of the total commitment of at least 800,000 new jobs that will be generated through the various economic pump priming projects of the government aimed at helping Filipinos ride out the financial crisis that is expected to worsen this year,” Yap said.

He called on Congress to do its share in helping government mitigate the effects of the worldwide financial contagion on the economy by passing an economic stimulus bill that would bankroll the commitments made during the recent jobs summit at Malacañang.

Yap said the jobs to be generated would not only benefit rural workers in the short term, but would also benefit Philippine agriculture in the long run, because the program involves the construction of facilities and other activities designed to boost food production, reduce post-harvest losses, and heighten the competitiveness of small farmers and fisherfolk.

A million jobs

Yap added that the projects to be carried out immediately aim to accomplish the Arroyo administration’s target of creating one million jobs.

Those jobs include the cultivation of organic fertilizer in the Ilocos region; construction of flatbed dryers, irrigation projects and agro-forestry projects in Cagayan Valley; production of organic fertilizers and vegetable planting programs in the Cordillera Administrative Region; livestock production and irrigation construction in Central Luzon; setting up of more Tindahan Natin branches in Metro Manila; irrigation projects in the Bicol region; swine livelihood, bantay dagat (coastal watch) program and organization of a Balicasag marine sanctuary in Central Visayas; construction of roads and flatbed dryers and employment of bantay dagat in Eastern Visayas; livestock production, coconut-corn intercropping and agro-forestry in the Zamboanga peninsula; irrigation repair and production of organic fertilizer in Northern Mindanao; agribusiness, irrigation projects and fisherfolk livelihood programs in the Davao region; marine management resource project in the Soccsksargen (South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarrangani-General Santos) region; and fisherfolk livelihood programs for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Besides the Agriculture department, the jobs-creation program also involves the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Education, state universities and colleges, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Labor and Employment, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

MMDA eyes more hires

The MMDA announced that it would hire 500 to 1,000 additional workers for its road repair and beatification programs.

The agency said it would be fielding more recruitment teams in Metro Manila to hire workers for its programs. And in line with that, the authority’s chairman, Bayani Fernando said, the agency has already deployed mobile recruitment units in various villages to enlist jobless residents.

“This is part of our continuing thrust to provide job opportunities to the poor and the jobless, especially during this time of global financial crisis,” Fernando said.

The authority reported that is has so far provided jobs to some 5,000 people. Most of them are from depressed areas and underprivileged communities in the metropolis.

The agency’s labor force is in particular need of laborers and skilled construction workers, who are being tapped for the agency’s “Metro Gwapo” and “Seven Major Roads” programs.

Careers in outsourcing

Despite the retrenchments triggered by the global crisis, the outsourcing sector remains strong and can potentially help laid-off workers find new employment opportunities, ExcelAsia President Rita Trillo-Ugarte said also on Friday.

She said that ExcelAsia, a full-service human resource solutions company, is experiencing an increase in workforce demands from their clients.

“ExcelAsia is in need of almost 4,000 jobseekers a month for our clients, who all seem to be ramping up and expanding despite the crisis,” she added. “We expect more and more companies to outsource their service-oriented businesses to BPOs [business process outsourcing] in the Philippines.”

Starting a career in business process outsourcing does not require prior experience in that sector, she said. “Voice positions remain the bulk of vacancies we are filling up, but we are starting to get an increasing number of manpower requests for back-office positions too.”

“These include accounting and finance practitioners, graphic designers, and bilingual candidates, to name a few,” she added.

As a full-service human resource Solutions Company, ExcelAsia conducts free training for applicants tagged as near-hires to prepare them for an outsourcing career.
— Ira Karen Apanay, Cris G. Odronia And James Konstantin Galvez, Manila Times

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