THE country will further develop the manufacturing and other labor-intensive sectors in an effort to create more job opportunities.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan underscored this initiative following the release of data showing that the Philippine unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.3 percent in July 2013 from last year’s 7 percent despite the 620,000 new jobs created.
While positive growth in agriculture employment was encouraging, Balisacan said this was accompanied by job losses in manufacturing and accommodation and food services sectors.
He noted these are crucial employment-generating sectors in an emerging economy like the Philippines.
“This is why it is necessary to accelerate the revival of the manufacturing subsector… It generates jobs in the sector itself, as well as in several other backward-linked and forward-linked sectors,” he said.
“These include agri food processing sector, furniture and gifts, those that are high-domestic value-added. We are looking at that generator of high quality jobs,” he added.
Balisacan, also the Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said manufacturing is also the heaviest user of agricultural output.
“(Thus) growing the sector means increasing demand for agricultural output, which means better business and more gainful work for our farmers and fishermen,” he said.
To boost the sector, the NEDA chief said the government and the private sector have already developed industry roadmaps.
“These should be further reviewed and strategically implemented,” he said.
Moreover, Balisacan said they are looking at other jobs growth drivers including tourism, infrastructure and logistics, business process management (BPM), agriculture and agribusiness and construction.
He said that apart from call centers, BPM sector comprises medical transcription, software development, film and animation.
“That’s still a fastest growing (sector) of our economy. Nice thing about this, it is also moving out of Metro Manila. Cities like Davao, Cebu, Iloilo and other urban areas are becoming hosts to this sector,” he added. — Danielle Venz,