PRIVATE SECTOR groups plan to organize job caravan events and identify job vacancies among member companies as part of their pledge to create a million jobs by the end of the year.

In an event organized by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP), industry groups representing the export, hotel and restaurant, construction, and electronics sectors committed to a partnership with government agencies to source talent for their industries.

According to the groups’ manifesto, the private sector will help find jobs for qualified but unemployed Filipinos and make recommendations to the government’s National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) task force.

Unemployment surged last year as lockdown restrictions were put in place to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, peaking at a 17.6% jobless rate in April 2020. The unemployment rate by April 2021 was at 8.7%, higher than the 7.1% reported in March, according to a Philippine Statistics Authority preliminary survey.

The NERS task force for its part will provide worker profiles for job vacancy referrals, promote alternative work arrangements, train workers, and help facilitate vaccination for qualified workers.

“We have highlighted in the manifesto the specific responsibilities that we will undertake to achieve our goal,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said at the ECoP conference.

“These include: creating a policy environment that encourages generation and improved access to employment, livelihood and training opportunities; improving employability, wellness, and productivity of workers by taking advantage of the opportunities in the labor market.”

Employers at the ECoP conference said that they commit to regular dialogue with the government to support reforms in the business environment and recover from the pandemic.

According to the conference resolutions, the employers recommended that the government “formulate effective national policies that would strike a balance between prioritizing lives and promoting livelihood.”

To do this, they said that the government should address vaccine hesitancy and ramp up the roll out of COVID-19 jabs. Employers added that the government should support small businesses through subsidies, mobilize private sector participation in infrastructure projects, and coordinate seamless social programs like cash transfer and other recovery packages. — Jenina P. Ibañez