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Duterte to form new task force to create more jobs in Phl

MJ Blancaflor

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President Rodrigo Duterte is set to form another task force, this time to boost efforts on generating more jobs and attracting investments amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Palace said Tuesday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the chief executive will sign an upcoming executive order which creates an inter-agency task force to implement the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) to “improve employability and productivity of workers and to provide support to existing and emerging businesses.”

Nograles said the task force will be led by the Department of Labor, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Members of the task force include departments of tourism, interior and local government, environment and natural resources, information and communications technology, agriculture, agrarian reform, education, public works and highways, transportation, and science and technology.

The departments of finance, budget and management, as well as the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, and the National Economic and Development Authority will serve as members of the oversight committee.

Nograles said the task force has so far discussed policy considerations and program interventions that will create an environment that encourages investors, such as the affordability of testing requirements to restart the tourism industry.

He added that the task force has tackled measures such as the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery Bill, Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Bill, Personal Property Security Act, and Warehouse Receipt Bills which are expected to ease access to finances of pandemic-hit businesses.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Nograles said the government needs a coherent strategy to further reduce the 17.7 percent unemployment rate last year, which is equivalent to over 7.3 million Filipinos.

“While we were able to half that to 8.7 percent by October 2020, we recognize that a coherent national strategy can help create a policy environment that encourages generation of more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, improves employability and productivity of workers, and provides support to existing and emerging businesses,” he said.

“An executive order is now being readied to institutionalize the NERS Task Force in order to oversee all these efforts,” he added.

Meanwhile, Nograles defended the government’s penchant in creating task forces, noting that the administration is “breaking silos” between government agencies to effectively coordinate government efforts.

“If you would notice, the style of management under the administration of President Duterte is we’re breaking silos between and among agencies,” he said.

Duterte has formed several task forces under his administration, the most recent of which were created to lead campaigns against hunger, animal-borne diseases, the coronavirus pandemic, typhoons and flooding, PhilHealth corruption, and the expanded task force probing corruption on all government agencies.

Their respective budgets are usually sourced from outlays of member agencies.

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