THE Philippines needs to fast-track efforts to create jobs for 69.4 million working age Filipinos, according to the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom).
In doing so, Popcom said, the country would be able to revitalize socioeconomic development, which is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic.
The Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) 2020 Census of Population and Housing showed that of that year’s total number of 109.035 million individuals, more than half—or 69.4 million—are within the 15 to 64 years old working-age bracket.
“To fully tap this significant quantity of workers, the national government needs to provide steady streams of quality jobs, while capacitating them appropriately so that they can acquire needed skills by industries,” Popcom Officer in Charge-Executive Director (OIC-ED) Lolito R. Tacardon said.
“This should be a priority; otherwise, we might miss the chance to hasten the country’s socioeconomic growth to further improve the quality of life of every Filipino,” he added. The Popcom marks Population and Development (Popdev) Week from November 23 to 29.
Tacardon said that, unlike others experiencing labor shortages, the country is fortunate to have an almost 70-million strong work-ready citizenry.
He also echoed Popcom’s position during World Population Day in July that “young [adolescent] Filipinos who comprise about 20 percent of the Philippines’s population and [its women will play a crucial part in the attainment of its much-aspired demographic dividend in the near future . . . They will comprise] a vital segment of the local workforce and employment, as well as contribute to national economic gains.”
Aside from women and young people, Tacardon echoed the UN’s position on inclusivity by tapping segments of the population that could be gainfully employed, including the disabled, immigrants, and the elderly.
He noted that this large pool of potential Filipino workers requires more available jobs. With sound policies and a quality labor force, this demographic shift can work to the country’s advantage of achieving its desired demographic dividend, which its Asian neighbors such as Thailand and South Korea were able to accomplish decades back.
Tacardon then urged the private sector, as well national and local leaders, to set policies and provide programs that can capture the benefit of having a larger work force.
He said equal opportunities for both sexes should also be considered. This, as the labor force-participation rate, according to PSA in August 2022, is still higher among men than women at 76.2 percent and 55.9 percent, respectively.
“Now is the best time to fully utilize our human resources. We need to ensure that there are available jobs out there. We also need to capacitate our workers, so that they can be more productive members of society,” Tacardon said. “This demographic opportunity can be a key factor to achieve the country’s higher socioeconomic objectives. It is rare, and we cannot afford to miss it.”
Meanwhile, he explained that the rise in the number of productive Filipinos is a result of collective efforts in reducing the levels of fertility and mortality nationwide.
Tacardon elaborated that “since couples and individuals have effectively limited and spaced the number of their children in previous decades, the young base of the population has declined, and those in the working-age gradually increased. This reflects the effective implementation of Popdev programs, such as family planning.”
Popdev Week is celebrated annually from November 23 to 29 by virtue of Proclamation No. 76 signed on October 20, 1992. It annually establishes the significant relationship between population dynamics and overall development.
This year’s observance focuses on ways the growing number of the country’s labor force will be instrumental in contributing to the nation’s sustainable progress.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes