More than P1T alloted for employment restoration

A total of P1.14 trillion has been allocated for the government’s National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS), a medium-term plan that aims to create employment opportunities, improve employability and productivity of workers, and support existing and emerging businesses.

An almost empty street in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig during a weekday shows how much jobs were lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO BY ENRIQUE AGCAOILI

“In the NERS 8-point employment recovery action plan, which was jointly crafted by the different agencies of the government, the total budget allocation for the different programs is about P1.14 trillion and a proposal for P24 billion, which targets to benefit 1.4 million Filipinos,” Labor Assistance Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay said during the NERS virtual presser on Friday.

Tutay said the P24 billion additional amount will be used as wage subsidies.

“Let me just clarify that the 1.4 million beneficiaries are those that will benefit from the wage subsidy, training programs of Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) and the different government agencies and business establishments,” she added.

In February, agencies led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) signed a joint memorandum order on the formal creation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on NERS.

The task force will be headed by the DTI. It will be co-headed by the Department of Labor and Employment and Tesda.

The member agencies include the Departments of Tourism, Interior and Local Government, Environment and Natural Resources, and Agriculture, among others.

Tutay said the P1.14 trillion will be from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) while funding for the additional P24-billion wage subsidy is yet to be determined.

“Most of the programs under the NERS action plan are from the different agencies of the government. The [funds for these] are sourced from the GAA of those agencies covered by the NERS task force. We still need to find the source of the P24 billion because this is under the proposal stage,” she said.

Tutay said NERS is not just for the preservation of employment.

“Creation of employment will follow if we are able to restore businesses. The restoration is included on the list of programs enrolled in the 8-point employment recovery action. [Some of the programs] include supporting the passage of legislation and policies that strengthen economic recovery, extending assistance to establishments through loans and deferment of applicable fees and upgrading of processes to enable businesses not to fold up so that job creation will be continuous,” she said.

“At the onset of developing the NERS 2021-2022, we have put premium to business and workers at the center of NERS’ outcome — restarting economic activities, restoring business and consumer confidence, upgrading and retooling the workforce, and facilitating labor market access,” Tutay added.