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Legarda: Strengthen MSMEs, Support Green Jobs to Address Unemployment, Promote Sustainable Dev’t

February 3, 2021

Former Senator, now Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda called for continued efforts to address unemployment and promote sustainable development in the country, following a recent report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that showed 3.8 million jobless adults as of October 2020.

Although it showed a significant improvement in the country’s unemployment rate from a record high of 7.3 million jobless Filipinos in April 2020, Legarda today said that gearing towards viable employment alternatives will strongly complement the provision of jobs and help address the lingering unemployment problems in the country brought by the pandemic and extreme weather events.

“It is a relief that our workforce is slowly recovering as the economy reopened even as community quarantines and lockdowns continue to be imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 virus. However, 3.8 million unemployed Filipinos is still a big number and the fact remains that the crisis of unemployment is one of the major problems that need to be addressed urgently. We have to strengthen efforts in generating more jobs for our growing population,” Legarda said.

To help address this, Legarda also called for strengthened promotion and better implementation of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Law (RA 9501) and the Barangay Kabuhayan Law (RA 9509), which she both authored and sponsored during her term as Senator.

“It is important that stronger efforts are exerted in strengthening employment creation, facilitation, and enhancement. MSME programs are viable platforms for generating employment opportunities and better incomes to spur economic growth particularly at the grassroots level. On the other hand, the Barangay Kabuhayan Law empowers micro entrepreneurs through free skills training in order to expand their capacities to be more productive,” Legarda said.

Moreover, Legarda noted that sustainable development and the promotion of green jobs must be embedded in the government’s efforts to improve employment statistics in the country.

“Gearing towards sustainable development and promotion of green jobs and just transition will help our government sustain the country’s socio-economic gains while promoting climate change adaptation efforts. For instance, renewable energy projects, management in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, environmental information technology can generate jobs and provide livelihood opportunities to poor communities while making good use of recyclable waste materials, which would also help solve our waste management problem,” Legarda said.

“We have to continuously empower our workforce to address unemployment. They too have families to feed and stomachs to fill. These pandemic and natural disasters have tested our growth as a nation. We need to recover and rebuild lives of our people by consistently looking for opportunities for progress to ensure that development is equitable and inclusive,” Legarda concluded.***