MANILA - The Philippine government is eyeing to employ millions of workers this year as part of its national employment recovery strategy.
Interviewed on ANC Monday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they hoped to provide jobs to 3.5 million Filipinos to stimulate the economy battered by COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is an all-government effort to improve the employment situation in our country. Each government agency has the responsibility to create jobs," he said.
Figures from the labor department as of December 2020 showed about 5 million Filipinos lost their jobs due to the health crisis. Since the pandemic began, the Philippines has logged over 549,000 COVID-19 cases, among the highest in Asia.
The government aims to lower the unemployment rate this year to the same level of 2019, which averaged at 5.1 percent. That translates to 2.3 million jobless Filipinos.
"We intend to go back to the 2019 unemployment rate para sa gano'n maibalik natin sa trabaho mga around 3.5 million na nawalan ng trabaho o kaya nabawasan ng trabaho," he said.
(... so we could let 3.5 million unemployed [Filipinos] have their jobs back.)
Last week, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the NERS task force had been given a boost by the recent bicameral approval of Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill.
The measure aims to reduce the country's corporate income tax rate in a bid to attract more foreign investments and help the economy recover from the pandemic.
"The passing of CREATE will firm up the tax and incentive reforms that will make the investment climate significantly more attractive than the current tax and incentive regime," Lopez said in a statement.
The CREATE bill will lower corporate income tax rate to 25 percent for large corporations and 20 percent for micro, small and medium enterprises.
During the interview, Bello said he also proposed a P52-billion budget to subsidize wages of MSMEs workers for 3 to 6 months.
"We hope to retain the status of employment of our workers by about 2 to 3 million," he said.
Under this proposal, the government will subsidize between 25 to 50 percent of the employees' salaries so they wouldn't have to lose their jobs.