The Philippines can harness huge economic potential by generating “green jobs,” or jobs that contribute substantially to the preservation and restoration of the environment and natural resources, after President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed late last week the Philippine Green Jobs Act, the bill’s chief sponsor said.
Under Republic Act 10771, ‘green jobs’ specifically refers to jobs that help “protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials and water consumption through high-efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.”
It covers industries that hire professionals including solar PV system designers and installers, engineers and technicians of turbines; energy- and resource-efficiency consultants; sanitation and waste management experts; biodiversity and ecology fieldworkers; forest guards; river clean-up crew; organic farmers and recycling plant workers, among others, and grants incentives for companies to create ‘green jobs.’
“With passing of this law we can preserve our natural resources and we can help to provide decent jobs to our people,” said Sen. Sonny Angara, acting chairman of the Senate labor committee and the sponsor of the measure.
The lawmaker cited a study by the International Renewable Energy Agency, which showed that in some countries, especially in Asia, green jobs already account for a significant portion of the workforce—totaling 7.7 million green jobs worldwide in 2014.
“Green jobs are the future of the world of work. Eventually, green economies will be the norm. A green jobs boom could happen here in the Philippines. We might as well start the transition now,” Angara said.
He also lauded the President and his colleagues in both houses of Congress for supporting the passage of this vital legislation that addresses both employment and environmental issues of the country.
Among the incentives business enterprises may enjoy under the recently enacted Green Jobs law include a special deduction from the taxable income equivalent to 50 percent of the total expenses for skills training and research and development expenses, and tax- and duty-free importation of capital equipment.
RA 10771 also states that green jobs must be decent jobs that respect the rights of workers, pay fair and adequate wages, provide safe working conditions and social protection for families, and promote social dialogue and workers’ right to organize.
“This law incentivizes employment opportunities in ‘green’ and eco-friendly industries. More importantly, a green job must be kind not only to the environment, but to the workers as well,” Angara added.