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PIA Press Release
2009/02/09

Let us join hands vs global crisis - PGMA

Manila (9 February) -- Manila (PNA) (9 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday underscored the need for the government, business and labor sectors to work together in order to weather the adverse impact of the global economic crisis.

In her speech during the Multi-Sectoral Jobs Summit at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang, President Arroyo said this is a time for the three sectors to join hands by not neglecting those who feel the hardships of the global downturn, especially firms under strain and workers facing layoffs.

In response to the concerns raised during the tripartite meeting two weeks ago, the President laid out some specific measures and actions to help and assist displaced/retrenched workers as well as companies affected by the global economic meltdown.

These include:

  • the condonation of the Social Security System (SSS) on penalties and surcharges on loans of affected workers;
  • the establishment of stand-by fund by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for displaced seafarers and land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs);
  • the implementation of training programs, training interventions specifically targeted for workers displaced as a result of the global financial crisis at the community level;
  • reduction on the cost of doing business by providing fuel subsidy to firms operating in the export processing zones, lowering the costs of business licenses and permits and standardization of the city business registration and permit process in Metro Manila;
  • having the government financial institutions provide loan facilities such as working capital to creditworthy firms;
  • stimulate domestic production and product demand and consumption by addressing smuggling;
  • study the possibility of imposing a moratorium on wages and other economic benefits for a limited period;
  • mainstream and expand training partnerships between government and private companies; and
  • sharing of information between the government and industries on industry employment, number of companies affected, number of workers affected either through retrenchment or flexible work arrangements, and other related information in order to come up with an accurate and reliable picture of the actual impact of the global financial crisis on employment and business and allow both government and industry to develop appropriate responses and interventions.

Likewise, the President emphasized on what government, business and labor are doing to save and generate jobs.

She said even before the tripartite consultation started, the government has already been put together the Economic Resiliency Plan.

"Under this Economic Resiliency Plan which is our stimulus program, we will continue our unprecedented investments. I direct key agencies to show solid progress in bidding out and/or implementing major infra and social projects under the P300 billion stimulus plan. We consider this the most important government initiative this year," she said.

The Chief Executive also said part of the resiliency plan is the putting of all budget-funded energy-independence and environment jobs in one box called "Green Collar Jobs."

Truly if anything, she said, "a tight economy should prompt people to yearn for greater stability and harmony and working together not working apart".

"So, let us all pull together to make sure the country puts jobs and the economy ahead of political and costly conflicts. Let us focus on "Joining Hands Against the Global Crisis," she added. (PIA) [top]

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