MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines needs to generate between three to four million new jobs yearly if it is to eradicate poverty by 2016, the country’s chief economic planner said.
“That means new investments worth $3 billion a year,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a briefing yesterday.
He said the labor force is growing by one to 1.1 million a year, while roughly a million Filipinos enter the employment force every year, on top of is the existing 10 million unemployed and underemployed.
“So the employment generating capacity must grow faster than the labor force,” Balisacan, who is also director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said.
Half of those joining the work force are aged 15 to 34 years, or equivalent to 46 percent of the employed population.
To be able to generate the huge number of jobs, government must focus to the sectors with the inherent ability to create jobs. Among the favored sectors are tourism, agriculture, manufacturing outside of the electronics and semi-conductor industry, construction and infrastructure.
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“We need to sharpen on our focus on sectors that generate jobs. We estimate that if we can get the sectors, mainly the private sector, to bring in $3 billion in new investments,” he said.
The economic planning chief said that it is likewise a prerequisite to overcome certain constraints, especially the poor infrastructure situation, which includes power and connectivity, meaning roads, railways, air and seaport.
Balisacan likewise commended the private sector for investing and improving the telecommunications requirements of the economy.
He added that the development of infrastructure must not be isolated to Metro Manila and other urban areas.
Last Tuesday, World Bank country director for the Philippines Motoo Konishi said the challenge for the Philippines is employment.
He said job creation is even more urgent in Mindanao as jobs contribute also to social cohesion. The need for good jobs—jobs that raise real wages or bring people out of poverty —is an overwhelming challenge.