MANILA, Philippines – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has expressed concern over the growing number of Filipinos losing their jobs as it admitted that the government does not have enough back-up plans for these retrenched workers.
NEDA director for policy and planning Dennis Arroyo said that as of March, there are already 42,000 workers who have been retrenched from their jobs which are mostly in the export industry.
Arroyo said that the jobs the government can provide immediately are not for “high-tech workers” such as those in the export sector.
He said the government’s response to lay-offs includes providing training and livelihood opportunities through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
“The problem now is on domestic lay-offs,” he said.
He noted that workers who have been retrenched from the export sector may apply for jobs in the business process outsourcing (BPO).
The BPOs, he said, would continue to remain resilient in the face of the global financial turmoil because of the global firms that are cutting on their production and operational costs.
“Anything that can be e-mailed, can be outsourced,” Arroyo said.
He said that Filipinos who have lost their jobs in the export sector may work as trainors in government agencies or in TESDA.
On the other hand, Arroyo said that there are 5,700 overseas Filipino workers who lost their jobs in various countries. He said that for these workers, there are new opportunities in the healthcare and education sectors.
Because of the global financial turmoil, the government has had to revise downward the higher end of its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target range to 3.7 percent to 4.4 percent from 3.7 percent to 4.7 for 2009.
Arroyo said the projections may still be revised downward if the situation worsens.
The Philippine economy, as measured by GDP grew by 4.6 percent last year, from a 30-year high of 7.2 percent recorded in 2007 as the country struggles to grow amid a global financial crisis.– Iris C. Gonzales, Philippine Star