By Miguel Gil

MORE JOBS NEEDED. Filipino construction workers are seen hard at work at a site in Barangay Kaunlaran, Cubao, Quezon City in this Sept. 8, 2023 photo. Employers Confederation of the Philippines president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said allied business groups would combine their resources to create over one million additional jobs in 2024. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and affiliated business organizations are targeting to create over a million additional jobs in 2024 as part of their joint commitment to support the Marcos administration’s employment agenda.

ECOP president Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr. said on Friday that the private sector-led employment-generation initiative called “Project Jobs” would be pursued in collaboration with the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PhilExport) and the broader Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

“We are pursuing this (Project Jobs) with the full support of our members and their companies. The SM Group will be on board with us on this project. Aside from helping the administration achieve its employment targets, more jobs make the country a much better place to do business. It will be good for everyone,” he told the Philippine News Agency.

The businessman, however, noted that the allied business groups, despite the hundreds of companies under their banner, could only provide direct employment to 16 percent of the country’s labor force within the formal sector.

Ortiz-Luis, who also sits as president of PhilExport and is a director of PCCI, pointed out that all stakeholders must pitch in to create livelihood opportunities for more Filipinos and to preserve the jobs of those who are already employed.

He said there is a need to further reassure investors that policies towards investment are not fickle and that legitimate contracts are always honored in the Philippines.

He emphasized that the stability of business policy-making is a requisite to encouraging local businesses to expand and to lure more investments from overseas.

Ortiz-Luis said that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s foreign visits will go a long way to motivating executives of multinational companies to give the Philippines a second look.

“The President’s trips abroad have already succeeded in generating renewed attention (for the Philippines). Now, we have to further entice them (investors) through sound and stable economic policies,” he added. (PNA)