The Trabaho, Negosyo at Kabuhayan (TNK)-Employment and Livelihood Summit piloted yesterday (1 December) aimed at wrapping up policy recommendations from previously held sectoral summits to chart a new employment agenda, in line with the administration’s development path.

Sectoral summits, whose recommendations feed into the TNK-Employment and Livelihood Summit include the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Summit, the Manufacturing Summit, Construction Congress and Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM). 

We want to identify the strategies to increase employment levels, improve access to employment opportunities, and address our skills requirement,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez.

The government, through DTI and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), gathered the public and private sectors and members of the academe to develop a national employment program, a strategic plan that supports the National Development and Security Strategy geared towards the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

The trade chief strongly encouraged the meeting to invest in job generating industries such as those in Industry and Services sector, specifically manufacturing, construction, IT BPM, retail trade, and tourism.

“Government is cognizant that we should make these industries attractive to investors hence, the action plan will allow us to prioritize,” he said.

He also called on participants to invest in the country’s human capital to help address the perennial problem of skills mismatch and to sustain the growth of Philippines industries

The two-day TNK Summit with the theme “Malasakit at Pagbabago Tungo sa Kaunlaran at Katiwasayan,” also aimed at preparing the workforce for the industry’s current and future needs.

The government aspires to draw a “shared agenda on employment creation and livelihood development that will contribute to the development of the President’s socio-economic agenda,” said DOLE Sec. Silvestre Bello III, adding that DOLE will continue implementing a “responsive, enabling and equitable labor policies, law and regulations.”

On the first day, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) discussed the country’s employment situation.  

DTI reported specific recommendations from the Manufacturing Summit held on 28-29 November, and shed light on the Manufacturing Resurgence Program, inclined to generate decent jobs and promote inclusive growth. It also reported on the results of the Philippine Construction Congress for Employment Generation held on 23 November.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), meanwhile, discussed public investments in infrastructure sector and its impact on employment. The National Housing Authority (NHA) tackled strategies on creating jobs through mass housing, while the Department of Tourism presented the Tourism Roadmap 2022.

The Philippine Retailers Association stressed the potential of retail trade as major source of employment, while the IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines on IT-BPM’s future direction.

On the second day, the meeting is expected to focus on the development of global MSME, industries, labor, export and entrepreneurship.

“We hope that together, government, business and the academe, can craft an action agenda that we can all pursue at the start of next year,” Sec. Lopez said.

Outcomes of the TNK-Employment and Livelihood Summit will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, for his consideration. The Cabinet Secretary, through Undersecretary Gloria Mercado, showed support for the Summit, adding that similar initiatives are aligned with the government’s “collaborative, participative poverty reduction strategy.”