By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, August 18, 2023; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and the Private Sector Advisory Council’s (PSAC) Job Sector Group have discussed several initiatives aimed at generating more than 2 million direct jobs by 2028.

In a fourth meeting convened by Marcos at the State Dining Room of Malacañan Palace in Manila on Thursday, the PSAC – Job Sector Group presented its proposed actions and recommendations that could help create more employment opportunities for Filipinos.

Marcos, during the meeting, was briefed about the proposed roadmap of PSAC and the IT and Business Process Association Philippines (IBPAP) to transform the Philippines into “a global leader in the digital domain.”

Under the proposed roadmap, the targeted approach is envisioned to open 1 million additional Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) jobs by 2028 and a total of 2.5 million employment opportunities, the PSAC said in a news release.

“These positions will, in turn, stimulate the generation of at least 550,000 new IT-BPM jobs in the countryside and 6.3 million indirect job opportunities across various industries, such as food, logistics, real estate, retail, and transportation. The ripple effect of this initiative is expected to significantly contribute to the nation’s economic development,” PSAC said.

Citing IBPAP figures, PSAC lead convenor and Aboitiz Group president and chief executive officer Sabin Aboitiz said the proposed roadmap is projected to contribute PHP169 billion in annual personal income tax and inject 8.9-percent growth into the Philippines’ gross domestic product.

“This transformative undertaking exemplifies a commitment to harnessing the potential of the Filipino workforce and leveraging technology for the nation’s progress,” Aboitiz said.

‘Significant global player’

Marcos and the PSAC – Job Sector Group also discussed the priority sectors that would play a vital role in making the Philippines a “significant global player,” while also retaining, upscaling and creating more jobs.

The council proposed the allocation of direct scholarship funds towards IT-BPM training and upskilling, with support from the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Investment and Economic Affairs and the Private Sector Jobs & Skills Corp.

PSAC said the goal is to train about 500,000 individuals annually with a budget of PHP4 billion.

It also recommended the synergy among the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to enhance enterprise-based training programs.

The PSAC’s proposal includes extending Senior High School immersion from 80 hours to 640 hours, promoting higher education internships, and fostering apprenticeships.

“While the implementation of these recommendations requires collaborative effort between the government and private sectors, PSAC – Jobs and IBPAP earnestly call for joint support and collective action to drive innovation, enhance competitiveness, and enable the Philippine workforce through AI upskilling and forward-looking interventions,” PSAC said.

Key sectors’ development

During the meeting at Malacañan, PSAC – Job Sector Group emphasized the need to focus on industries that could boost job creation and shape the Philippines as a “future-ready” nation where cutting-edge technology, workforce empowerment, and economic growth converge.

PSAC noted that synergies between the private sector and the Department of Agriculture would play a crucial role in bringing development to the agriculture sector.

“The ongoing study to help develop the habal-habal and motorcycle taxi program could generate one million jobs. The recommendation also incorporates private sector participation in which it aims to connect an estimated 200,000 agri MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and can generate over 400,000 additional jobs,” it said.

The council also proposed the improvement of the Philippines’ Shipping Registry through the passage of a law that could enable a robust administrative framework to facilitate maritime trade.

It also backed the reinstatement of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s one-stop shop role to provide streamlined services to foreign companies in economic zones.

“PBBM and government officials are poised to deliberate on these recommendations and explore their implementation to drive the Philippines forward as a global economic powerhouse,” PSAC said. (PNA)