By MAR S ARGUELLES
LEGAZPI CITY: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), tourism, agri-business, infrastructure, and education are among the economic drivers that would fuel employment in the country, according to Albay Gov Joey Salceda.
The governor said what the country needs are foreign investments that would generate more jobs as he called on President Benigno Aquino III to invite Japan's major corporations to relocate and invest here.
He said this would bring in US$1 billion in strategic investments, although he said he would prefer non-mining investments.
He also said tourism should be given focus as visitors will be welcomed by our scenic tourist spots, good food, and hospitable people.
"Let's work for a possible visit of Pope Francis and other events that would constantly put the Philippines in the radar screen, " Salceda said.
An increase in advertising budget is also strongly encouraged that should match the bigger budget allocated by Vietnam for its own tourism program at around US$150 million compared to our country's current budget of only P1B.
Salceda said infrastructure and mass housing projects should be pushed as employment boosters where millions of workers are needed that would bring down the level of job losses.
Investing in education would gain a significant advantage by improving and matching the type of courses students enroll in with the jobs being offered by companies, Salceda also stressed.
He also wanted to decongest the National Capital Region (NCR) as the bastion of economy where the country's Top 40 are based, accounting for 76% of the increase in GDP, and bring them to the provinces and boost their local economies.
Salceda wants to promote and focus on growth areas such as the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon-Catanduanes (ALMASORCA) tourism development area.
Despite the 7.8% growth (which was investment-led, industry-led, construction-led, best in Asia that uplifted its investment grade status), the Philippine economy sustained jobs losses of about 21,000 as employment slid to 37,819 in April 2013 from 37,840 in April last year.
He pointed out that although employment may be affected by the way the government chooses to spend and the way it chooses to tax, employment is an outcome of a far more complex set of economic processes and policies, thus the employment picture must be addressed far beyond fiscal policy.
The Philippine predicament has been over studied and over discussed but under solved, he said. – Bicol Mail