Major infra projects to address unemployment: Palace

MANILA -- Malacanang on Thursday expressed optimism that unemployment will be addressed as the Duterte administration starts to roll out major infrastructure projects under its ambitious Build, Build, Build program.

We are confident, because of the Build, Build, Build program of the government, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.

Roque made this remark following reports that more than 6,000 employees in the National Capital Region were expected to lose their jobs amid plans by more than 400 companies to terminate workers.

Coca-Cola FEMSA was reportedly laying off an undisclosed number of employees due to evolving regulatory environment, our operational efficiency, and, consequent performance in the market.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), on the other hand, has reportedly received notices in January from more than 400 companies that they will be terminating more than 6,000 employees.

Roque said unprecedented locators and foreign investors that had registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) would address unemployment.

And of course, we have also record figures as far as manufacturing output of the country is concerned, Roque said.

He announced to the media that the country's manufacturing sector continues to be one of the top performing sectors for 2017.

Manufacture has been experiencing high growth over the last seven years averaging greater than 7 percent. In 2017 it grew an average of 8.6 percent, Roque said.

The BOI, he said, had recorded a 95-percent increase in improved investments in the manufacturing sector amounting to PHP96 billion in 2017 as compared to PHP49.259 billion in 2016 and 256 percent higher than the PHP27 billion recorded in 2015.

With the increase in infrastructure projects in the public and private sectors this year, BOIs exposed for growth and economic activities outside Metro Manila, will have the needed support as well as the governments build, build, build program, Roque said.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF), the Build, Build, Build program is designed to modernize the country's infrastructure backbone by rolling out 75 flagship projects worth USD36 billion in investments.

Roque also announced that the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) has entered in an agreement with the Asian Development Bank to be the PNOC's transaction adviser for the country's first liquefied national gas (LNG) facility in Batangas worth USD2 billion.

He said the PNOC had received eight unsolicited proposals for the project and ADB would assist the PNOC in choosing its partner upon evaluation of the unsolicited proposals.

The LNG will have a capacity of 7 million metric tons yearly or twice the current domestic consumption of natural gas.

This is another step forward in ensuring energy security and tapping another clean source of energy. Once up and running, this LNG hub will increase energy access, benefit the power transportation, industrial sectors in Luzon and outlying areas and further contribute to our economic growth, Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency