MANILA – The employers’ sector on Thursday expressed bullishness over the country’s 6.4 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the first quarter, saying this development heralds the opening up of more employment opportunities for Filipinos.
In an interview, Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), credited the positive direction taken by the economy to sound management by the Marcos administration, especially its emphasis on infrastructure development, which is very labor-intensive.
He noted that ECOP’s leadership has observed aggressive hiring in the manufacturing, mining and services sectors lately.
The business leader said that within the services sector, the food, travel, and hospitality sub-sectors have shown the most recovery in recent months.
“The economy may be growing slower than what we hoped for, but it seems to be moving forward very surely,” Ortiz-Luis said.
He pointed out that the main obstacle to economic growth in the past three years was the Covid-19 pandemic, which now “seems to be behind us.”
In light of the job market’s gradual recovery, Ortiz-Luis called on the administration to put aside proposals for legislated wage increases and instead, leave wage-setting to the various Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards.
Meanwhile, Roberto Galang, dean at Ateneo de Manila’s John Gokongwei School of Management, called the Philippines’ first quarter economic performance “very encouraging.”
“The country is leading the region, and the Philippines is a rare bright spot in a slowing global economy,” according to Galang.
He stressed that the “best news is the turnaround of agriculture back to positive growth.”
The dean said that policymakers should take advantage of the apparent optimism created by the agriculture sector’s 2.2 percent growth last quarter to encourage more farmers to plant high-value crops.
He explained that the easiest way to address poverty among small farmers and farm workers is to have them plant crops that command generous financial returns. (PNA)