Palace says job losses tapering off

Published by rudy Date posted on April 15, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang claimed yesterday that job losses have started to taper off now that businesses are starting to recover from the effects of the global financial slowdown.

At the Cabinet meeting yesterday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto updated President Arroyo on the Global Recession Impact Monitoring (GRIM) of the government on the various sectors affected by the global economic slowdown, which he said are showing signs that recovery is underway.

Unemployment, which has become the single most important concern of the government at this time, was supposedly already slowing down based on the report of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III cited Labor Secretary Marianito Roque’s report that the 14,000 employees who lost their jobs at the height of the crisis were recently rehired.

Bello said this is an indication that affected companies are starting to recover from the effects of the global financial crisis.

The overseas job market offers even more opportunities for Filipinos, particularly in the Middle East where around 200,000 jobs were made available.

These jobs are mostly in the construction sector and have yet to be filled up.

Recto emphasized that the government continues to focus on creating jobs in the country either by providing emergency employment in the government or creating the environment for the private sector to expand their businesses or bring in more investments.

One of the projects lined up by the government is phase two of the North Luzon Expressway, which is expected to generate around 100,000 new jobs.

In the private sector, Recto noted that the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector remains robust and would continue to provide a substantial number of jobs for Filipinos.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the BPO sector has been providing employment to areas outside of Metro Manila.

In Mindanao, the DTI said 500,000 jobs are expected to be generated, particularly in the areas of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City.

Recto noted that other sectors remain resilient, specifically housing, food, retail and tourism.

While the demand for high-end housing has remained low, Recto noted that middle and lower-income housing has shown steady growth.

Food manufacturers, particularly industry giants, have supposedly laid out expansion plans as demand for their products remained strong.

Consumer spending continues to drive growth and if activities in the shopping malls are an indicator, then prospects are good because the operators expect double-digit growth this year.

In the case of tourism, Recto noted that tourist traffic in the first quarter of 2009 went up based on data from the airlines and other transport players.

Meanwhile, President Arroyo ordered yesterday government agencies, particularly the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), to work 24/7 for the timely completion of key infrastructure projects, officials said yesterday.

Bello said Mrs. Arroyo issued the directive following a briefing from Recto on the latest economic developments and status of the administration’s Economic Resiliency Program (ERP) as well as the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) during a Cabinet meeting in Fort Bonifacio.

Bello said she ordered agencies and departments to fast-track the implementation of their respective ERPs.

She also reminded agencies that 60 percent of their respective infrastructure projects must be bid out during the first semester of the year.

“The implementation of most infrastructure projects must be done 24/7,” Bello told a news briefing at the Palace.    – Marvin Sy with Paolo Romero, Philippine Star

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