Job seekers fill up documents during a job fair at a park in Manila, June 20. — PHILIPPINE STAR/KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

THE EMPLOYERS Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP) urged President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to improve the business environment to boost investments, protect their rights to manage their business and workers, and address the jobs-skills mismatch.

“(We want the government) to create an environment that will encourage more inflows of investments, remove red tape, allow ease and flexibility of doing business, protect employers’ rights to manage their business and their workforce, and encourage productivity improvement by supporting alternative and flexible work arrangements,” ECoP said in the resolution approved during the National Conference of Employers (NCE) on Thursday.

The Philippine economy is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, but the unemployment rate — or the share of the jobless Filipinos to the total labor force — remains high at 6% in June.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the total number of unemployed Filipinos reached 2.990 million in June, 62,000 more than the 2.927 million in May.

Another concern raised by ECoP is the job-skills mismatch, which was exacerbated by the pandemic.

“(We ask Mr. Marcos) to take an all of government and all of society approach in addressing jobs-skills mismatch in close collaboration with the private sector by improving the basic education, higher education, and skills training systems that can help develop a world-class and globally competitive Filipino workforce equipped with 21st century skills,” the group said.

The government should take the lead in digital transformation, massive upskilling and reskilling of the Filipino workforce, and green jobs creation, they added.

ECoP also asked the administration to work with companies to create a workplace for the “new normal,” which “promotes innovation, sustainable practices, diversity, equity, and inclusion utilizing bipartism, tripartism, and voluntary modes of dispute resolutions, thereby resulting in an environment of lasting industrial peace and harmony.”

Amid the economic recovery, many employers are facing challenges such as rising inflation and higher daily wages.

Inflation climbed 6.4% year on year in July, from 6.1% in June and 3.7% a year ago, mainly due to soaring prices of food and higher transport costs.

A new daily minimum wage was implemented in June, with hikes ranging between P30 and P110.

The NCE is an annual event organized by the ECoP, which allows industry leaders, key government partners, foreign investors, chambers of commerce, and corporate executives to discuss issues related to employment. — R.M.D.Ochave