Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva sponsored in plenary Senate Bill No. 2035 seeking to establish the “Trabaho Para sa Bayan Plan,” which will serve as the country’s long-term employment generation and recovery masterplan.
Villanueva said the landmark legislation, known as “Trabaho Para sa Bayan (TPB) Act,” aims to promote job-led economic growth and enhanced industry collaboration, and to provide overall services for worker development and support and incentives to businesses.
He noted that the measure is included in the priority measures of the Marcos administration.
“We are humbled and thankful to President Bongbong Marcos for personally asking us to lead in the passage of this measure,” he said The TPB Act shall provide the employment policy that is comprehensive, coherent, and future oriented, to be able to address the dynamic changes in the labor market.
“Employment should not just be an incident to economic development. Generating more decent and permanent employment should be the objective of economic growth, to make growth inclusive and a reality for all,” he said.
Villanueva rued the Philippines has yet to overcome the “seasonality” of jobs, wherein more workers are hired during peak months.
In December 2022, unemployment rate dropped to 4.3% from the 5.3% in August 2022. It climbed anew, however, in January 2023 at 4.8% after the holiday season while the underemployment rate has remained high from 13.8% in 2019 to 14.1% as of January 2023, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The Majority Leader noted that PSA data also showed a huge gap in the employment in the service sector at 60.7% compared with the agricultural sector at 22.2% and the industry sector at 17.1%.
“Clearly, we need to diversify and increase opportunities in other sectors if we are to become a self-sustaining and prosperous country,” he said.
The masterplan shall be formulated by an Inter-Agency Council headed by the National Economic and Development Authority, as the chairperson, with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment as co-chairpersons.
It shall direct all government agencies to come up with integrated and coordinated solutions for a range of matters such as:
• Rising precarity and informality of work;
• Tackling the nuanced needs of particular sectors – including those that are marginalized and vulnerable;
• Increase in the number of workers in the digital economy, gig economy, and platform work;
• Full-cycle reintegration of Overseas Filipino Workers;
• Promoting opportunities in priority sectors, key and emerging industries with high employment potential;
• Expanding access to active labor market policies; and
• Job-skills mismatch and potential skills gap in emerging industries.
The Inter-Agency Council shall also harmonize all existing policies, plans, programs, and projects and shall work together with existing inter-agency councils engaged in efforts that aim to provide an enabling environment for employment and enterprises to grow.
“The TPB Plan will harmonize and synergize all efforts towards a coherent and cohesive employment policy