, December 30, 2005
 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - The Arroyo administration’s goal of creating six to 10 million jobs by 2010 is on track with two million jobs created from January to September this year alone, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) head Rigoberto Tiglao said yesterday.

Tiglao said the figure was based on reports submitted to the PMS by government agencies involved in job-generation programs. He said the figure "parallels" the report of the National Statistics Office (NSO) that the economy generated 1.2 million net employment in the 12 months to October 2005.

"This data pertain mainly to jobs created through government intervention in various ways in different selected programs, such as agribusiness, land development, government funding for micro, small and medium enterprises as well as housing, and public construction," Tiglao said in his report.

"PMS monitoring also captures new jobs generated in a set of industries where there is substantial government role," he said.

He explained that the PMS job-generation monitoring system is separate from the NSO’s Labor Force Survey and is intended to provide President Arroyo with feedback on how successful government programs are in generating jobs.

In his report, Tiglao said a total of 509,802 new jobs were created in the micro-finance sector through the release of P8.33 billion to micro-enterprises from January to September this year.

This was achieved through the opening of micro-financing facilities and the provision of technology and marketing support to micro-enterprises.

"With the P600 million made available for micro-finance in July by the Land Bank (of the Philippines) and the NLSF (National Livelihood Support Fund), more jobs are expected to be created in the coming months," he said.

Loans extended by government financial institutions (GFIs) to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the SME Unified Lending Opportunities for National Growth (SULONG) reached P22.07 billion from January to September, which supported 275,938 jobs, he added.

The amount comprised more than 76 percent of the targeted P28.8 billion loan releases for 2005 meant to generate 360,000 jobs.

Tiglao said the GFIs are working on the assumption that a loan of P80,000 generates a new job or supports an existing one.

Jobs generated through the "Strong Republic Housing Program," reached 404,080 as 52,805 housing units were completed from January to September this year, representing an increase of seven percent from the previous year.

Tiglao said more employment would be generated with the construction of more housing units in resettlement sites, such as those that will be constructed for families displaced by the North Rail project, as well as the intensified efforts undertaken by housing agencies to promote their programs.

In agriculture, 224,000 jobs were created, according to the July 2005 NSO Labor Force Survey. He said a total of 138,862 hectares were generated from January to September 2005 or 43 percent of the targeted 357,650 hectares in 2005.

Tourist arrivals continued to post positive growth this year, with a high 18.1 percent growth recorded in May and July due to aggressive promotions, Tiglao said.

He said a total of 1.91 million tourists arrived in the country during the first nine months of the year, which is 13 percent higher than the 1.69 million arrivals for the same period in 2004. The increase in tourist arrivals created a total of 270,293 jobs. He said 1.22 jobs are created for every foreign tourist arriving in the country.

A total of 146,460 people were hired from January to September this year in economic zones under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Clark Development Corp.

The Department of Public Works and Highways also reported that a total of 65,108 workers were hired directly or indirectly or through contractors in public construction and maintenance projects during the same period.

Under the program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, a total of 53,369 students were enrolled in various livelihood courses from January to September, which is 53 percent of the 100,500 target for the year.

The Commission on Information and Communications Technology reported the creation of 41,000 jobs through ICT-related services such as business process outsourcing, medical transcription, animation and software development.

The figure, Tiglao said, represents 95 percent of the 43,000 projected new workers needed in the ICT sector in 2005. He said the total demand for ICT workers is expected to grow from 120,000 in 2004 to about one million in 2010.

A total of 3,580 new jobs were also generated in 16 mining projects during the same period, which is 88 percent more than the targeted 1,910 jobs for 2005.

GMA advisers also against no-el’ By Delon Porcalla The Philippine Star 12/30/2005

Not only the opposition but also political advisers of President Arroyo are against the proposal to scrap the midterm elections in 2007.

Sources revealed some of Mrs. Arroyo’s political advisers were against the proposal since they had already made an early draft of the administration’s senatorial candidates for the 2007 polls.

A cancellation of the elections as proposed by the presidential consultative commission (con-com) on constitutional amendments could mean their efforts would go down the drain.

Sources revealed Mrs. Arroyo’s political advisers went on to draft the senatorial line-up for the administration which included ABS-CBN executive and STAR columnist Ricardo "Dong" Puno, news anchor and television host Korina Sanchez, Parañaque Vice Mayor and comedian actor Anjo Yllana and former senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III — the latter two from GMA-7.

The Palace strategists said they wanted to strike a "balance" between the country’s two largest television networks to help the other senatorial bets of the administration, sources said.

Though the administration had misgivings on Sotto, who had earlier supported the candidacy of opposition candidate and former actor Fernando Poe Jr. in the May 10, 2004 presidential race, sources disclosed Palace strategists are trying to revive the political alliance between the comedian-television host and Mrs. Arroyo.

Sotto and Mrs. Arroyo formed the Kabalikat ng Mamamayang Pilipino (Kampi) in 1996.

It was also learned that Palawan Rep. Abraham Mitra, Cebu City Rep. Eduardo Gullas and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay are also being considered by Palace strategists in the lineup for geographical representations.

Arrangements are being made to include re-electionist senators in the slate, among them members of the so-called Wednesday Club including Senators Joker Arroyo and Ralph Recto.

Sources disclosed that Palace strategists left out Senators Francis Pangilinan and Manuel Villar Jr. in the "dream team" since they have become identified with Senate President Franklin Drilon who has become a vocal critic of Mrs. Arroyo.

Drilon led some members of the Liberal Party in calling for President Arroyo’s resignation last July 8.

Other senators identified with the camp of deposed President Joseph Estrada were not considered by administration strategists, however, noting that opposition lawmakers still enjoy a huge following among the masses.

Popular television host and actress Kris Aquino was initially considered but plans to place her on the slate were scrapped because her mother, former President Corazon Aquino, also joined opposition calls for Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation on July 8.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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