Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr OKs 5-year labor, employment plan to create quality jobs

2023 August 15

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has approved the proposed Labor and Employment Plan (LEP) 2023-2028 aimed at creating more quality jobs for Filipinos.

Marcos’ approval was confirmed by Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma in a chance interview with reporters after a sectoral meeting with the President at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday.

Laguesma said the plan would likely be implemented by September this year.

“We are targeting a national tripartite conference with employment summit. So sometime September siguro (perhaps, [when it would be implemented]),” he said.

The LEP 2023-2028 was first presented to Marcos last week.

In line with the administration’s 8-point socio-economic agenda and the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, the LEP aims to reduce unemployment and address underemployment with better jobs.

Over 3 million jobs will be generated under the LEP amid the planned implementation of the Department of Public Works and Highways’ 70,000 big and small infrastructure projects under the “Build Better More” program.

‘100 percent’ budget utilization by yearend

Meantime, Laguesma said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is eyeing a “100 percent” budget utilization by the end of 2023.

Laguesma said the DOLE would try to utilize all its budget allocation before September this year.

Kung maaari nga, ubusin nga namin before the last quarter (If we could, we would utilize it before the last quarter [of 2023]),” he said.

The DOLE is among the government agencies that will face budget cuts in 2024 because of low budget utilization rate.

Marcos, Laguesma said, has instructed government agencies to boost spending on programs related to social protection with the end goal of preparing the Philippine workforce for the further opening of the economy and the expected influx of foreign investors.

Laguesma said his office is already implementing a catch-up plan to ensure the department’s spending efficiency.

“Our catch-up plan is geared towards being able to utilize all the available funds but always conditioned sa mga (to the) proper beneficiaries and in compliance with documentary requirements,” he said.

Marcos presided over the sectoral meeting to address government underspending and discuss ways to improve budget utilization.

Laguesma said Marcos wants to ensure the employability of the Filipino youth to prepare them for the future.

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)