President Arroyo is reminding all government agencies to set aside 1.5 percent of their operating budget for job-creating activities as part of measures to shield the Philippine economy from the adverse effects of the global financial crisis.
Mrs. Arroyo issued Administrative Order 261 reiterating her order, which is expected to generate as much as P7 billion in funds to generate 180,000 new jobs.
The President also scrapped the Independence Day parade for this year along with the P30-million allocation for it. Instead, a mega-jobs fair will be held to mark the event.
“In challenging economic times, the government must tighten its belt and live within its means, just like the average Filipino household,” Mrs. Arroyo said. “To that end, the government is taking a series of actions to stop unnecessary and wasteful spending,” Mrs. Arroyo said in her new order that will complement Executive Order 782 that she issued in January.
The mega-jobs fair is meant to enable the 40,000 workers displaced by the global crisis to find employment or livelihood, she said.
The President also ordered all government agencies to take measures to bring down their consumption of fossil fuel by 25 percent and of electricity, by at least 10 percent. Her fuel-saving measures include turning off of air conditioners by 4:30 p.m. except in offices with 24-hour work; and the replacement of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps.
“At least 20 percent of the vehicles of the national government, including those of government-owned and -controlled corporations, shall convert to the use of natural gas. National government vehicles which are not issued to an official and are not on official trip shall also be garaged in the agency office, and the keys shall be kept by guards, during weekends and holidays,” the President said in AO 261.
Earlier, Mrs. Arroyo also challenged local government units to follow suit and save 1.5 percent of their operating budget and use the money to create jobs within their respective constituencies.
LGU officials must not waste their Internal Revenue Allotment on “trimmings,” and instead spend it on social services and employment- generation projects, she said.
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said the President’s instructions were very clear that the 180,000 jobs must be created over a period of six months.
The funding will be used for the temporary hiring of displaced workers and their dependents for “green-collar jobs” and for the Nurses Assigned in Rural Areas program.
Green-collar workers will work for the government’s various environmental programs, including reforestation projects, coastal cleanup and retrofitting of tricycles with liquefied petroleum gas. –Joyce Pangco Pañares, Manila Standard Today