Philippine Recession Is Over

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said today the Arroyo administration celebrates Labor Day today, Friday, May 1 “with profound optimism and a deep sense of gratitude to our workers for bringing us this far.”

Other countries may approach the mid-year with trepidation over their economic prospects, but in the Philippines hopes remain high that the worst may already have passed by, and the best is yet to come, Remonde said in his opening statement at his regular Friday briefing in Malacanang.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has provided various types of skills and jobs training to almost eight million workers, including near-hire training for call center agents, Remonde said.

The President has doubled the budget of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) this year to reach out to displaced members of the workforce. Today, Labor Day, our own Department of Labor and Employment is holding a job fair for 80,000 employment opportunities waiting to be filled, Remonde said.

He said the country relies on the skills and talents of its workers to carry the day and preserve the legendary resilience of the economy. In the Middle East alone, over 200,000 job openings are waiting for Filipino construction workers.

“Here at home, offshoring and outsourcing employers continue to set up call centers, software development houses and backroom offices,” he noted.

Remonde said the slowdown of the major export markets abroad was the cue for the Philippines to press forward with all available strategies not only to sustain its unbroken record of economic growth, but also to ensure the availability of jobs.

Remonde said that “it is no longer within the powers of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to dictate wage increases as it could be done during martial rule.”

The law in place mandates the Regional Tripartite Wages Productivity Board to set wage standards and for the mechanism of collective bargaining negotiations to move employers and employees, he said.

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