SENATOR Joel “Tesdaman” Villanueva is pushing for the empowerment of local government units (LGUs) in the National Employment Recovery Strategy (Ners).

The senator said the strategy should be strengthened through local government unit (LGU) participation.

“The Ners should be sustained beyond its deadline this year and provide guidance particular to the needs of every LGU. Each LGU should have a say on how it will participate in employment recovery so that we can say it is truly national in scope,” he said.

Executive Order 140, Series of 2021, states that Ners is a medium-term employment recovery strategy anchored on the updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and ReCharge PH.

The program takes into consideration “the changes in the labor market brought by the pandemic and the fast adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.”

The chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources said LGUs should be empowered under an institutionalized Ners, which is part of the senator’s campaign platform of income security and employment empowerment.

“While we need a consistent policy for emergency job generation, each local government unit has their own specific supply and demand from the job market, with each having their own experience in the pandemic. LGU participation in national employment recovery is a no-brainer,” he said.

Villanueva previously called for a standardized scorecard to keep track of the Ners implementation. He cited localized data as a crucial metric for the program’s success.

“Localized data makes sure that we are not leaving anyone behind in nationwide job recovery. Walang lugar dapat sa Pilipinas ang walang trabaho. Walang tayong iwanan sa pag-unlad ng bayan,” he said.

With the number of unemployed Filipinos in the country rising to 3.27 million (6.6 percent) as of December 2021, Villanueva said a local structure for the Ners should contribute to a better distribution of employment opportunities across regions, and ease the population rise in urbanized areas.

He also said that a coordinated local employment strategy should also minimize the need for both international and local migration for job employment, and corresponding urban explosion problems such as congestion and skyrocketing cost of living.

“Dapat ipursigi na rin natin na hindi na kailangang lumipat pa ng ibang probinsya o ibang bansa para lang makapagtrabaho, lalo’t umaahon na tayo mula sa pandemya. Dapat may trabahong para sa iyo saan ka man naroroon,” he said.