NEDA chief pushes revival of local industries

Published by rudy Date posted on August 13, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s socioeconomic planning chief is pushing for the revival of local industries, saying that this is key to achieving the Aquino administration’s economic growth target of 8.5 percent by 2016.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio Balisacan said that at present, Philippine economy is heavily reliant on the services industry.

He said what should happen is the revival of local industries, which have been killed by high power costs and some of the country’s free trade agreements.

“Many of these jobs could be opened up by a growing industrial sector. That’s why we want to see the industry revived because if you look at the experiences of our neighbors, it is the generation of jobs that absorb many of these unskilled workers in rural areas,” Balisacan told reporters in a recent briefing.

He said that many unemployed Filipinos go to the services sector when in fact, they can find more gainful opportunities in the local industries.

Some of the local industries Balisacan wants revived include the textile, garments, steel and agriculture.

He said that the revival of these industries would help generate employment in the countryside.

“Our major concern is the unemployment. We are monitoring closely the employment to make sure that we are generating high quality employment and not just employment for the sake of employment. We want to see the quality of employment generating more income, particularly the unskilled members of the labor force,” Balisacan said.

He conceded that the government needs to address the lack of infrastructure in the country to attract investors that would help revive the industry.

“I think we have to address those identified bottleneck, particularly infrastructure, transport and electricity costs,” said Balisacan.

On the part of the NEDA, he said, the agency would continue to push for private-public partnerships for infrastructure to help address some of the problems that dampen investments.

Last month, the government’s review body has approved the P9.76 billion-extension project for the Light Railway Transit and four other projects with total cost of P32.67 billion.

The LRT Line 2 Extension Project will connect east of Manila to various commercial and residential areas in the capital city. It involves the design and construction of a 4.19-kilometer extension from the existing Santolan Station to Masinag Junction.

Furthermore, according to NEDA-ICC, two stations will be located at Emerald Drive, Cainta, Rizal in front of Robinson’s Place Metro East and Masinag Junction, Antipolo City, Rizal. –Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)

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