April 20, 2016 11:51 pm

PROVING that her goal of over a million jobs a year is not impossible, Sen. Grace Poe bared plans to develop the manufacturing and tourism sectors, along with the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to create employment opportunities for Filipinos.

In a recent campaign sortie in Bicol, Poe said her administration, if she wins in the May 9 elections, will work to generate 1.7 million jobs every year for six years as a concrete step in fighting poverty, the root of criminality in the country.

As of January 2016, the unemployment rate was at 5.8 percent. Of the jobless, 45 percent were high school graduates. A third of the unemployed are in the 25-34 age group while 48 percent are in the 15-24 bracket.

To create jobs, Poe said she will give small MSMEs easier access to financial assistance so that more Filipinos would be encouraged to venture into business. Of the 944,897 business enterprises operating in the country as of 2012, 99.58 percent or 940,886 are MSMEs.

MSMEs account for 61 percent of jobs in the country.

According to a study by Small Enterprise Assistance Funds, a New York-based non-profit investing in emerging markets, for every dollar invested in MSMEs, $12 dollars is generated for the economy.

Poe also wants to strengthen the manufacturing sector, where workers could get higher pay compared to the agriculture and services sector.

The manufacturing sector, which comprises more than half of the Philippines’ industrial sector, accounts for almost a quarter of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Poe also said she would support infrastructure projects that would strengthen the tourism industry, which contributes 1 of every 10 jobs in the country.

Poe and running mate Sen. Francis Escudero have committed to allot P300 billion to agriculture, the Philippines’ second-largest employer and also the poorest sector. While it employs 31 percent of the total labor force, agriculture accounts for only 11 percent of the GDP–the lowest contribution to the economy.

Under her “Gobyernong may Puso,” Poe promised that there will be free irrigation, more climate-resilient post-harvest facilities and well-placed agro-industrial zones.

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