COVID recovery strategy to boost employment, livelihood
Malacañang announced on Tuesday, June 29, its newest initiative, the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) 2021-2022, to improve access to employment and training opportunities and respond to the challenges in the labor market in the new normal.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the goal of the recovery strategy is to expand initiatives for work, business, and livelihood by considering the changes in the labor market as brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and new technologies.
The national government will implement the NERS by virtue of Executive Order (EO) 140, signed by President Duterte through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Based on the EO, the NERS will focus on the “creation of policy environment that encourages generation of more employment opportunities with improved access to employment, livelihood and training opportunities” and the “improvement of employability, wellness and productivity of workers, and maximization of opportunities in the labor market under the new normal.”
The NERS also hopes to provide support for existing and emerging businesses to ensure the “security and preservation of employment.”
Roque said that a task force will be created under the employment recovery strategy. It will be chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and co-chaired by the secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment and the director-general of the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Among the “powers and functions” of the task force will be to form an action plan “to address the recovery of the labor market, and the prevailing employment issues.”
It also seeks to work together with the private sector, the International Labor Organization (ILO), and other partners “for joint programs and technical cooperation initiatives to augment and expand employment generation and livelihood projects.”
Various government agencies will comprise the task force.
Aside from the DTI, DOLE, and TESDA, also contributing to the task force are the Departments of Agrarian Reform, Agriculture, Budget and Management, Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Finance, and Information and Communications Technology. Other government agencies will also play roles in the task force.
Funding for the initiative “shall be charged” against the available budget from the member agencies of the task force.
But after the initial run, “subsequent funding requirements shall be included in the respective budget proposals of the member agencies, subject to the usual budget preparation process.”
The EO said there will be an evaluation of the effectiveness of the strategy every three months. The task force will submit a joint evaluation report to the Office of the President.
In April 2021, the number of unemployed individuals in the country rose to 4.14 million from 3.44 million in March. That equals to an 8.7 percent unemployment rate, which is higher than the 7.1 percent reported in March 2021.
The higher unemployment rate is traced to the reimposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest quarantine classification, in Metro Manila and nearby provinces during the Holy Week in early April.