Retooling of workers amid pandemic urged

BACOLOD. The local business sector is pushing for the development of a retooling program for workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus disease pandemic. (File photo)

A LOCAL business group is encouraging the labor sector to collaborate with government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Agriculture and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and develop a retooling program for workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), said it could be new skills or livelihoods to help them adapt to available employment or a new environment.

Carbon said they are calling the representatives of the labor sector in the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Western Visayas to initiate the action.

"They may coordinate with Tesda-Negros Occidental Provincial Office," he said, adding that the management sector is willing to assist in the endeavor.

Carbon stressed that "we have to work together to stimulate the economy to help people, families and businesses recover and help themselves."

The MBCCI reiterated the need to initiate immediate local interventions to prevent many into falling into deeper poverty while waiting for the financial stimulus from the national government.

The chamber earlier said immediate interventions by the local government units (LGUs) are vital to keeping the economy afloat through one, preserving jobs and creating new ones.

These interventions include passing a tax amnesty ordinance, amending the curfew ordinance to increase the night business hours, and providing micro-grants and market spaces to micro-businesses.

Food-for-work program, restarting infrastructure projects, passing the anti-hoarding ordinance and price freeze ordinance on rice, fish, vegetables and meat, among other staple food, and distribution of food packs for the most vulnerable sectors are also seen to help steer the local economy.

Also, there's a need to take advantage of the liquidity support from government banks to build up labor-intensive industries and those that have export potential, it added.

The business group is now preparing its position paper on this "bundle of measures," which the LGUs could take for the remaining months of the year.

Carbon said the economic storm has not made its landfall yet. "What we are experiencing are just heavy rains with a little wind."

"We have to prepare now before the strong winds of the economic storm come and topple our businesses and lives," he said, adding that if that happens, it will be doubly harder to recover.


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