MANILA, Philippines — Proving that her goal of over a million jobs a year is not impossible, Sen. Grace Poe bared plans to develop the manufacturing and tourism sectors, along with the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to create employment opportunities for Filipinos.
Poe said her administration, if she wins, would work to generate 1.7 million jobs every year for six years as a concrete step in fighting poverty, the root of criminality in the country.
“Sa aking gobyerno, sisiguraduhin ko na ang kahirapan ay mababawasan, kung hindi man mawawala, sapagkat bawat Pilipino ay bibigyan ko ng sapat na pagkakataon, trabaho, sapat na kitang permanente para sa inyong pamilya,” she said in a recent campaign sortie in Bicol.
As of January 2016, the unemployment rate was at 5.8 percent. Of the jobless, 45 percent were high school graduates. A third of the unemployed are in the 25-34 age group while 48 percent are in the 15-24.
To create jobs, Poe said she would give small MSMEs easier access to financial assistance so that more Filipinos would be encouraged to venture into business. Of the 944,897 business enterprises operating in the country as of 2012, 99.58 percent or 940,886 are MSMEs.
MSMEs account for 61 percent of jobs in the country.
According to a study by Small Enterprise Assistance Funds, a New York-based non-profit investing in emerging markets, for every dollar invested in MSMEs, USD12 are generated for the economy.
Poe also wants to strengthen the manufacturing sector, where workers could get higher pay compared to the agriculture and services sector.
“Susuportahan natin na mas dumami ang manufacturing sa ating bansa sapagkat kung dumami ang ‘Made in the Philippines,’ mas maraming trabahong malilikha para sa inyo,” she said during a visit to Laguna, one of the country’s manufacturing hubs.
The manufacturing sector, which comprises more than half of the Philippines’ industrial sector, accounts for almost a quarter of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Poe also said she would support infrastructure projects that would strengthen the tourism industry, which contributes 1 of every 10 jobs in the country.
“Kung ako ang magiging pangulo ninyo, hindi ako magiging kampante sa pagbubunyi kung gaano tumaas ang ating GDP at ng iba pang istadistika na numero lamang sa karaniwang tao. Ang titingnan ko ay kung bumubuti ba ang buhay ng mga nasa ibaba dahil iyon ang tunay na indikasyon ng kaunlaran,” she said.
Poe and running mate Sen. Francis Escudero have committed to allot Php 300 billion to agriculture, the Philippines’ second largest employer and also the poorest sector. While it employs 31 percent of the total labor force, agriculture accounts for only 11 percent of the GDP—the lowest contribution to the economy.
“Ito ang sektor na nagbibigay ng pagkain sa atin; at hindi lamang ‘yon, isang sektor na tila yata napabayaan ng ilang dekada. Dapat mabigyan ng tamang lugar kung saan ang ating mga magsasaka ay hindi na mahihirapan magbenta ng kanilang produkto at hindi na kayo lolokohin ng mga middlemen,” said Poe.
Under her “Gobyernong may Puso,” Poe promised that there will be free irrigation, more climate-resilient post-harvest facilities and well-placed agro-industrial zones. Jelly Musico/PNA/northboundasia.com