PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed an executive order directing the government to prepare a strategy to effect a workforce recovery.

Executive Order No. 140 creates a National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) task force, which will implement the government’s plan to restore employment until 2022.

The recovery plan, which is anchored on the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, seeks to create a policy environment that encourages the generation of and improved access to employment, as well as livelihood and training opportunities.

The plan also seeks to improve worker employability, wellness, and productivity and expand support to current and emerging businesses.

The NERS task force is to be chaired by the Trade Secretary, with the Labor Secretary and the Director General of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority as co-chairs.

Its members include representatives from the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Transportation, Tourism, Public Works and Highways, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, Interior and Local Government, Information and Communications Technology, Environment and Natural Resources, Education, Finance, and Budget and Management.

The order directs the task force’s member-agencies to conduct a joint evaluation of the policies and effectiveness of the recovery plan every three months.

The task force is to submit to the Office of the President periodic reports on the results of the joint evaluations and the implementation of the recovery plan.

Funding to implement the program is to be “charged against available appropriations of Task Force member-agencies.” 

“Subsequent funding requirements will be included in the respective budget proposals of the member-agencies, subject to the usual budget preparation process,” it said.

The unemployment rate rose to 8.7% in April as lockdowns were enforced in various parts of the country to curb a surge in coronavirus infections. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza