• ‘Broad coalition’ needed to solve unemployment

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    THE Philippines needs to create 14.6 million jobs in the next four years, which can be achieved through a “broad reform coalition” for inclusive growth.

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    This was stressed by experts from the World Bank and the Philippine Institute for Dev-elopment Studies (PIDS) during their recent dialogue with stakeholders in the labor and business sectors as well as the academe.

    ”People want to earn a living, they don’t want handouts,” said Axel von Trotsenburg, World Bank vice president for East

    Asia and Pacific Region, as he opened the “Dialogue on Creat-ing More and Better Jobs.”

    The forum was organized by World Bank Philippines and PIDS as part of the activities for the 11th Development Policy Research Month.

    Trotsenburg said that job creation is a real concern as it has a direct link to poverty, and considering that four billion people around the world live on less than $4 a day.

    For his part, Karl Kendrick Chua, World Bank senior country economist, said that transforming the Philippine economy to yield more and better jobs would be the challenge for everyone.

    ”More and better jobs should be created for 10 million Fili-pinos who were either un-employed or underemployed as of 2012,” Chua said.

    With an estimated 1.15 million Filipinos entering the labor force every year in the next four years, a total of 14.6 million jobs would be needed, he said.

    The problem is that the Philippine economy has failed to undergo a structural trans-formation, and its inability to produce a massive number of jobs was a result of a long history of “policy distortions.”

    Chua pointed to the country’s historically weak economic growth record, which, at an average of just 4.1 percent in the last three decades, was con-siderably slower than the average 6.5 percent of its more dynamic East Asian peers over the same period. Moreover, the share of manufacturing to gross domes-tic product has stagnated at around 25 percent since the 1960s, while other countries steadily increased theirs before moving on to growth driven by high-skill services.

    Meanwhile, PIDS Vice Pre-sident Rafaelita Aldaba called for a comprehensive industry roadmap that will link all sectors, including agriculture and services.

    ”We need to improve the competitiveness of industries,” she said, adding that effective gov-ernment policies and com-plementary actions such as competitive exchange rates would also be needed.

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