Government mulls subsidy for hog raisers, plans job recovery

CEBU. In this pre-pandemic photo, job seekers search for employment opportunities. (File)

A RECOMMENDATION to provide a 50-percent insurance subsidy for commercial hog raisers to encourage them to boost production is under study while a task force is set to be implement a strategy to address unemployment and stimulate the economy, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

These are among the measures lined up by the government to address economic woes caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Nograles said the insurance subsidy will be taken from the quick response fund of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The government has also drawn up a National Employment Recovery Strategy (Ners) aimed at creating a policy environment that encourages generation of more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Nograles recalled that the lockdown due to the pandemic had caused many businesses to shut down and let go of employees.

Unemployment peaked at 17.6 percent in April 2020 as around 7.2 million Filipinos lost their jobs. This was reduced to 8.7 percent in October 2020.

Nograles said, however, there is still a need to create more jobs, improve employability and productivity of workers, and provide support to emerging and existing businesses.

He said the Ners Task Force will oversee the implementation of this strategy. An executive order will soon be issued to institutionalize it.

The Ners is based on the following pillars: stimulating the economy and employment; supporting enterprises, jobs and income; protecting workers in the workplace; and trusting social dialogue to encourage innovative solutions.

The task force co-chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

Among the policy considerations that were initially discussed by the task force were the need for a whole of government approach that will help create jobs and encourage more investments vis-a-vis key government policy and program interventions such as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa and Build Build Build program.

“The push for policies to strengthen finances through measures such as the government financial institutions unified initiatives to distressed enterprises for economic recovery bill, the Fist or Financial Institution Strategic Transfer bill already signed into law, the Personal Property Security Act, the warehouse receipts bills, which will help access to finance of pandemic-hit enterprises,” he added.

To support the tourism sector, the government is eyeing to make testing affordable to allow more people to travel.

He said the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is boosting digitalization efforts as another measure that will help the country “bounce back better from the pandemic.”

Nograles said up to 5,000 telecommunications towers will be built per year in the next three years to improve connectivity.

“The ultimate objective is to connect the Filipino people and to provide the means to our kababayans to not just survive but to thrive in the digital age,” he said. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)


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