Duterte to form new task force to boost PH employment

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President Rodrigo Duterte will soon sign an executive order which will institutionalize the National Employment Recovery Strategy Task Force to boost job generation in the country amid the pandemic, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles says. FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 23) — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to create another task force, this time to help Filipinos who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced on Tuesday that Duterte will soon sign an executive order institutionalizing the National Employment Recovery Strategy Task Force to "improve employability and productivity of workers and to provide support to existing and emerging businesses."

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Nograles said the government needs a coherent strategy to further reduce the 17.7% unemployment rate last year, which is equivalent to over 7.3 million Filipinos.

"While we were able to halve that to 8.7% by October 2020, we recognize that a coherent national strategy can help create a policy environment that encourages generation of more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities," he said.

The NERS Task Force will be chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry and co-chaired by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Its members include the Departments of Transportation, Tourism, Public Works and Highways, Science and Technology, Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, Interior and Local Government, Information and Communications Technology, Environment and Natural Resources , Education, Commission on Higher Education, and the National Security Council.

The Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Departments of Finance, Budget and Management, and the National Economic and Development Authority will serve as members of the Oversight Committee.

"An EO is now being readied to institutionalize the NERS Task Force in order to oversee all of these efforts," Nograles said.

'Breaking silos' with numerous task forces

Meanwhile, Nograles defended the creation of the latest task force, noting that the Duterte administration is "breaking silos" between government agencies to effectively coordinate government efforts.

"Kung mapapansin ninyo, ang style of management dito sa administrasyon ni President Duterte is we're breaking silos between and among agencies," Nograles reasoned.

[Translation: If you would notice, the style of management under the administration of President Duterte is we're breaking silos between and among agencies.]

"We've been quite successful in breaking those silos and creating better coordination," he added.

Critics pointed out in the past the "redundant" role of task forces created under the administration, with too many government agencies taking charge instead of one department getting funded to fulfill their related mandate.

Since taking office, Duterte has formed different task forces designed to address certain issues. In 2020 alone, Duterte ordered the creation of at least five task forces to solve corruption, hunger, PhilHealth irregularities, animal-borne diseases, and communist insurgency.