P7b set to hire the jobless

Published by rudy Date posted on February 13, 2009

PRESIDENT Arroyo has ordered all government agencies to allocate 1.5 percent of their budget, or close to P7 billion, to hire 180,000 workers temporarily in the face of the global economic slowdown.

She made the order in Executive Order 782 after the jobs summit at the Palace on Monday, and yesterday Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the people to be hired would be employed for six months.

“The contracts will end in July,” he said.

“Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said these funds could amount to P7 billion that will be used solely to provide employment.

A copy of the order has yet to be released officially pending clearance from the Office of the President.

During the jobs summit, the stakeholders agreed to allocate 1.5 percent of their 2009 budget, or some P21.5 billion, to hire displaced workers and their dependents for “green-collar jobs” and to send nurses to the rural areas.

But Ermita said the order only covered 1.5 percent of the maintenance and other operating expenses of all government agencies, and that meant only P7 billion would be allocated for emergency hiring.

Mrs. Arroyo said green-collar jobs covered those to be hired for reforestation projects, coastal cleanup and bay watch groups, jatropha planting, retrofitting of tricycles with liquefied petroleum gas, designating bike lanes, and village electrification using solar panels, among others.

She said five nurses will be deployed to each of the 1,000 poorest municipalities for two six-month tours of duty. At least 6,000 short-term jobs had also been opened to young people, she said.

Stakeholders also committed to create 1.3 million new jobs at the jobs summit, and those include 100,000 jobs for the repair of classrooms and school buildings, 506,082 jobs for infrastructure projects, 81,134 jobs for irrigation projects, and at least 100,000 jobs for the business process outsourcing sector.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said at least 400,000 new jobs were also available abroad, and that was according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. Joyce Pangco Pañares, Manila Standard Today

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