MANILA – Increasing investments from employers to generate high-quality and remunerative employment is vital in achieving rapid poverty reduction towards inclusive growth, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told participants of the 35th National Conference of Employers that while poverty incidence in the first half of 2013 has remarkably improved, more needs to be done to substantially reduce poverty and ensure inclusivity.

“The generation of remunerative employment remains a big challenge in the country. Data show that the rate of employment generation has not kept pace with the labor force growth such that there is still a large stock of the unemployed,” he said in a speech delivered by NEDA Deputy Director-General Rolando G. Tungpalan during the event at the Marriott Hotel, Pasay City.

However, Balisacan noted that more concern must be directed toward the creation of high-quality jobs that provide adequate income for the Filipino workforce, rather than the quantity.

He then outlined the strategies being done to accelerate job creation and to improve labor and employment situation in the country.

“These strategies include continuous build-up of capital, promotion of priority sectors, stable macroeconomic fundamentals, investment in research and development in the agriculture, industry and services sectors, and reducing the cost of doing business,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.

Also, Balisacan explained to the employers the country’s need for greater support for economic sectors with high growth potentials.

“Investing in manufacturing, tourism, information technology-business process management (IT-BPM), construction, logistics, and agribusiness can provide remunerative jobs for a great number of the poor,” he said.

Under the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 Midterm Update, the government aims to reduce the unemployment rate from 7.0 percent in 2012 to 6.5 to 6.7 percent in 2016. An improvement in the quality of employment will also be reflected through a reduction in underemployment rate from the current 20.0 percent to about 17.0 percent in 2016.

“We hope that the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines would continue supporting us in our efforts to generate high-quality and remunerative employment that is key to rapid poverty reduction,” Balisacan concluded.