Senator Christopher “Bong” Go lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing Executive Order No. 140, which officially adopted the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) as the Philippine government’s master plan for the restoration of the country’s labor market.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo at kinokomendahan si Pangulong Duterte sa pagpirma niya ng EO 140 na layuning maglatag ng recovery strategy para sa labor market ng bansa na lubos na apektado ng kasalukuyang pandemya,” said Go.
“Layunin po nito na buuin ang NERS Task Force na siyang bubuo ng mga polisiya upang makapaglikha pa tayo ng mas maraming trabaho sa bansa at magkaroon ng access ang ating mga kababayan sa mga ito. Bubuo rin sila ng mga polisiya para sa livelihood trainings, pagpapalakas ng productivity ng ating mga manggagawa, pagsusulong ng kanilang karapatan, at marami pang iba,” he added.
On Monday, June 29, Duterte signed the EO. It institutionalizes the NERS Task Force, which consists of 20 agencies, and is directed to implement the NERS from 2021 to 2022 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s adverse effects.
Members are the Departments of Transportation, Tourism, Public Works and Highways, Science and Technology, Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, Interior and Local Government, Information and Communications Technology, Environment and Natural Resources, Education, Finance, and Budget and Management, among other agencies.
The passage of laws to support economic and employment recovery, the implementation of youth employability initiatives, process upgrades, and loan assistance to businesses are among those on the recovery agenda. Also included are the promotion of retooling and upskilling of workers, social protection to vulnerable groups, deferment of fees, and continuous support and monitoring of programs with high impact on employment.
As the country jumpstarts the economy while government rolls out its vaccination program, Go continues to push for the passage of key legislative measures that can ease the burden of the pandemic on ordinary Filipinos and ensure continued public service delivery during these challenging times.
For one, Go supported the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE bill to help small businesses cope with the adverse impact of the crisis. According to Go, the tax reform measure also aims to achieve faster and equitable regional development and provide economic opportunities in the provinces by encouraging businesses to invest in the countryside.
Moreover, Go filed the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery or GUIDE bill.
“Ang mga ito ay naglalayong magkaroon ng dagdag na mekanismong pinansyal para matulungan ang mga negosyo na magkaroon ng puhunan,” Go explained.
“Kung matutulungan natin ang mga negosyo na bumangon at lumago, matutulungan rin ng pribadong sektor ang ating mga kababayan at magkakaroon rin ng mas maraming economic opportunities sa buong bansa,” he added.
The Public Services Bill and the Foreign Investment Bill are also being prioritized by the government and are currently undergoing plenary deliberations. Meanwhile, the Retail Trade Liberalization bill already passed the Senate’s third and final reading.
To ensure that government can better adapt to the new normal, Go is also pushing for a measure that will spur the shift of government processes and transactions towards e-governance. He filed in July last year Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1738, or the “E-Governance Act of 2020,” which mandates the government to establish an integrated, interconnected, and inter-operable information and resource-sharing and communications network.
Go said e-governance “will reduce red tape, eliminate corruption, enhance transparency, provide safe and convenient delivery of services to the people and encourage citizen feedback and participation.”
“Ginagawan na natin ng paraan na magiging mas malinis at madali ang pakikipag-transaksyon sa gobyerno. Kung kaya’t bukod sa maayos na pag-implementa ng Ease of Doing Business Act, isinusulong ko rin ang aking E-Governance Bill upang mas makapag-adapt ang bansa sa ‘new normal’,” said Go.
“Gamit ang makabagong teknolohiya, gagawin nating mas mabilis, maginhawa, at angkop sa pangkasalukuyang sitwasyon ang mga proseso ng gobyerno para mas makabenepisyo sa pangkaraniwang mga Pilipino,” he added.
Go is also the main proponent of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program. BP2 is a comprehensive, multi-sectoral and whole-of-government initiative which seeks to decongest Metro Manila and enhance regional development by incentivizing residents and businesses to settle and invest in areas outside Metropolitan areas.
It places emphasis on four key result areas, namely: (1) the empowerment of local industries; (2) food security and agricultural productivity; (3) housing, social welfare, health, employment and human resource development; and (4) infrastructure development. Beneficiaries who are returning to their provinces can expect to receive assistance on transportation, housing and livelihood, among others, subject to assessment.
BP2 roll-outs are presently temporarily suspended due to the pandemic and shall resume once conditions are deemed safe. However, preparations by local government units and partner agencies are underway.
“Magtulungan at magbayanihan po tayo para malampasan ang krisis na ito. Pasiglahin natin muli ang ating mga kabuhayan, at bigyan natin ng bagong pag-asa ang ating mga kababayan ng mas ligtas at komportableng buhay — anumang pagsubok ang dumating,” Go said.