PoPCom: Around 70 million employable Pinoys can provide much-needed boost to national economy
PHILIPPINES — The increasing number of employable Filipinos can further revitalize the Philippines’ socio-economic development, which is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic—that is, if their numbers are fully maximized and harnessed, according to the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM).
The Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) 2020 Census of Population and Housing revealed that out of the said year’s total number of 109,035,343 individuals, more than half—or 69.40 million—are within the 15 to 64 years old working-age bracket.
For POPCOM, this huge segment provides an opportunity to elevate the country’s socio-economic conditions.
“To fully tap this significant quantity of workers, the national government needs to provide steady streams of quality jobs, while capacitating them appropriately so that they can acquire needed skills by industries,” stated POPCOM Officer in Charge-Executive Director (OIC-ED) Lolito R. Tacardon, as the agency marks Population and Development (POPDEV) Week from November 23 to 29. “This should be a priority; otherwise, we might miss the chance to hasten the country’s socio-economic growth to further improve the quality of life of every Filipino.”
Tacardon further explained that the rise in the number of productive Filipinos is a result of collective efforts in decreasing the levels of fertility and mortality nationwide. He elaborated that “since couples and individuals have effectively limited and spaced the number of their children in previous decades, the young base of the population has declined, and those in the working age gradually increased. This reflects the effective implementation of POPDEV programs, such as family planning.”
He echoed the position of the United Nations Population Fund that “falling fertility levels can create opportunities for countries to realize economic growth resulting from an increase in the number of people of working age, and a decrease in the number of dependents.”
Tacardon said that, unlike others experiencing labor shortages, the country is fortunate to have an almost 70-million strong work-ready citizenry. He also echoed POPCOM’s position during World Population Day in July that “young [adolescent] Filipinos who comprise about 20% of the Philippines’ population and [its women will play a crucial part in the attainment of its much-aspired demographic dividend in the near future…They will comprise] a vital segment of the local workforce and employment, as well as contribute to national economic gains.”
Aside from women and young people, POPCOM’s interim chief echoed the UN’s position on inclusivity by tapping segments of the population that could be gainfully employed, including the disabled, immigrants, and the elderly.
He noted that this large pool of potential Filipino workers requires more available jobs. With sound policies and a quality labor force, this demographic shift can work to the country’s advantage of achieving its desired demographic dividend, which its Asian neighbors such as Thailand and South Korea were able to accomplish decades back.
Policies and programs
POPCOM’s OIC-ED then urged the private sector, as well as national and local leaders, to set policies and provide programs that can capture the benefit of having a larger workforce.
Meanwhile, he said equal opportunities for both sexes should be considered. This, as the labor force participation rate, according to PSA in August 2022, is still higher among men than women at 76.2 percent and 55.9 percent, respectively.
“That said, we call on the present administration to exert supplementary efforts in investing in the nation’s human and physical capital by channeling resources on health, education, infrastructure, and technology, which can help our country further boost productivity,” the POPCOM official exhorted.
“Now is the best time to fully utilize our human resources. We need to ensure that there are available jobs out there. We also need to capacitate our workers, so that they can be more productive members of society,” he pointed out. “This demographic opportunity can be a key factor to achieve the country’s higher socio-economic objectives. It is rare, and we cannot afford to miss it.” /PR
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