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‘Managing Covid-19 risks to boost jobs sector’

THE management of risks associated with Covid-19 would increase the chances of more Filipinos getting jobs, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

In a statement on Tuesday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said managing the risks will empower firms and individuals to open their businesses and work in the new normal.

“Managing the current risks brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and other economic shocks will be crucial in continuously improving labor market conditions,” Chua said.

Chua advocated a three-pronged strategy to accelerate job creation this year. The first strategy is to safely reopen the economy while adhering to public health protocols. Efforts to intensify the prevention, detect, isolate, treat, and recover are needed.

Another strategy, Chua said, is to fully implement the government’s recovery package, particularly in terms of the budgets that have been allocated but not yet fully spent.

Chua also cited a need for the government to ensure the timely implementation of the vaccine program to cover the entire adult population.

“All of us in government, the private sector, and the whole country need to rally behind the goal of safely reopening the economy. We will use transparent and credible data support to make all these important decisions,” he said.

The recovery package amounts to P2.76 trillion or 15.4 percent of GDP. This includes a combination of emergency support for vulnerable groups, other fiscal measures such as tax subsidies and exemptions.

The biggest of this is from the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act and monetary actions to help keep the economy afloat. All of these complement the 2021 budget.

“The 2021 budget was designed to achieve our economic recovery, alongside all the other complementary measures, such as Bayanihan 2, and the recently enacted CREATE and SAP,” he affirmed.

Based on the results of the World Bank’s Impact of Covid-19 to Firms and Households surveys, the country’s labor market situation needs further improvement.

Only around half of workers feel that their workplaces are safe, while around a third of firms have experienced some form of closure during the pandemic.

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