Region-based tack pitched for high underemployment


THE country’s largest labor group called for the creation of a region-based industry promotion strategy to address high underemployment nationwide.

In a press statement, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said by identifying the top performing industries in the region, the government can prioritize its interventions on regional sectors, which have the most potential of providing permanent and decent jobs.

It said the list can also guide companies to establish their operations in areas, which could provide their needed resources and workforce.

“Pinpointing and upscaling these identified products and industries will generate new jobs, bolstered by fiscal incentives and tax breaks,” TUCP said.

TUCP Vice President Luis Corral said the list can be included in the pending Labor and Employment Plan (LEP) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“The LEP should provide for a roadmap on the use of TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) and TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers) to prepare the workforce of each region through job-matching, upskilling, and ensuring temporary job support, during lean times,” Corral told BusinessMirror in a SMS.

TUPAD is the emergency employment program which provides light public works to qualified beneficiaries.

The labor group issued the statement after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported last week the underemployment rate accelerated to 14.1 percent in January from 12.6 percent in December 2022.

TUCP expressed concern over the trend since it showed more workers are now “trapped in precarious work which is largely either short-term contractual arrangements” amid high inflation.

“These are not decent jobs whose income can sustain the health and productivity of working families,” TUCP stressed.

“Unless our Economic Managers address poor job quality and the inflationary environment, new entrants to the labor force will be joining the queue of millions of job-sharing workers who can never bring in nutritious food to their family’s table,” it added.

Aside from its proposed region-based promotion strategy, TUCP also reiterated its call for a revitalized national infrastructure program, government financial and technical aid for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and their workers, as well as bringing down food and power inflation to help improve the quality of employment in the country.

“TUCP urgently calls on our Economic Managers to adopt the TUCP jobs agenda as the roadmap to inclusive growth and towards building a fair and more decent society,” the labor group said.