Labor dep’t still far from target of 1.1 million jobs under community employment program

Posted on June 24, 2011

NEARLY 170,000 Filipinos have received employment and livelihood assistance this year through an inter-agency government project aimed at reducing unemployment.

some students have been hired as members of food service crews, gasoline attendants, cashiers, salespeople, and office clerks. -- JONATHAN L. CELLONA
However, the figure is just 15% of the 1.1 million jobs the government hopes to generate this year through the Community-Based Employment Program. Under the CBEP, participating agencies provide temporary employment or livelihood assistance mostly to low-skilled workers around the country.

Jobs are also provided in areas suffering from natural or man-made disasters.

Some government agencies have yet to implement their job-generating projects, but they will surely do so because budget has already been allocated for these, said Nicon F. Fameronag, director for communications of the Department of Labor and Employment.

The DoLE said 62.9% of target jobs under the CBEP are for infrastructure (construction of roads, bridges, schoolbuildings and water systems, among others) under the Department of Public Works and Highways. The rest cover “social infrastructure” like reforestation and livelihood and self-employment programs.

The CBEP also provides students with employment opportunities, in partnership with the private sector, such as Jollibee Foods Corp., Shell South Luzon Tollway, and The Body Shop. So far, students have been hired as members of food service crews, gasoline attendants, cashiers, salespeople, and office clerks.

Meanwhile, those under social infrastructure projects have been working as farmers, fishermen, vendors and entrepreneurs, among others.

Other government agencies participating in the CBEP are the Philippine Ports Authority, Department of Agrarian Reform, Philippine Coconut Authority, Department of Education, National Housing Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Manila International Airport Authority, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Jorge V. Sibal, former dean of the University of the Philippines School of Labor and Industrial Relations, said the World Bank and the International Labor Organization have long recommended labor-intensive infrastructure development in the Philippines, especially in small communities.

“It is important to create more than a million jobs because more than a million Filipinos are added to the labor force every year.

Non-compliance would result in a higher unemployment rate,” he added.

Latest government data showed that the labor force grew to 39.7 million members in April from 38.5 million a year ago. Meanwhile, the number of jobless Filipinos went down to 2.9 million from 3 million. -- R. R. Dinglasan