Legarda welcomes EO on National Employment Recovery Strategy

June 30, 2021

Three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda hailed President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of an Executive Order that will provide P1.14-trillion fund for the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) to generate employment, provide livelihood, and protect workers’ rights, especially those who have been affected by the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

“The President’s issuance of Executive Order No. 140, series of 2021, is a significant move to address the economic consequences, unemployment, livelihood disruptions, and labor market fragilities brought to us by this pandemic,” Legarda said.

“The crisis of unemployment is one of the major problems that need to be addressed urgently. We have recorded an estimated 8.7% unemployment rate in the country for the month of April, substantially lower than the record high 17.6% in April 2020 but higher compared to the 7.1% recorded in March 2021. This comprehensive government intervention is very timely as we strengthen efforts in generating and strengthening employment creation, facilitation, and enhancement to meet the demands of our growing population,” Legarda added.

The signed EO institutionalizes the NERS Task Force, which was first organized in February 2021 chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and composed of 20 national government agencies primarily tasked to formulate the NERS Action Plan and address the recovery of the labor market and the prevailing employment issues.

Anchored on the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) four areas for policy action to stimulate the economy and employment, support enterprises, jobs and incomes, protect workers in the workplace, and rely on social dialogue to find solutions, NERS shall focus on the creation of policy environment that encourages generation of more employment and access to livelihood and training opportunities; improvement of employability, wellness and productivity of workers; and provision of support to existing and emerging businesses, and security and preservation of employment, among others.

“The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shared that projected poverty rate in the country for 2021 is between 15.5% to 17.5%. Whereas, a survey conducted by the Department of Science and Technology revealed that 62.1% of Filipino households experienced moderate to severe food insecurity amid the global health crisis. This pandemic is not just a health crisis anymore. Given the extent of its impacts, it has gravely affected our economy and labor market. That is why we should exert utmost effort to reduce, if not eliminate, unemployment, poverty, hunger, and end this desperation that is afflicting many Filipinos,” Legarda stressed.

“Through these government interventions, we are giving our people hope, especially the poorest of our poor belonging to the most vulnerable and marginalized sectors of our country, that they are given priority and adequate assistance as we tread on the path towards recovery,” Legarda added.

The three-term Senator also expressed her hope that as the national government addresses the country’s labor displacement issue, it would also consider prioritizing the wage subsidy proposal provided in the proposed Bayanihan to Rise as One Act, which Legarda co-authored and approved by the House of Representatives.

“To effectively reduce hunger and poverty, we have to provide our citizens the kind of support that will have long-term effects. Let us continue to improve employment statistics in the country. Let us continue to empower our workforce through maximum assistance and skills training in order to expand their capacities to be more productive. Poverty, ignorance, and unemployment hinder our growth as a nation. Let us not stop from developing opportunities for progress to ensure that we have sustainable, equitable and inclusive growth and recovery for the Filipino people,” Legarda concluded.***