Description of Event: The second of a series of knowledge sharing forum on Zero Based Budgeting, organized by the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) in partnership with the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), aims to review the relationship between growth and employment as well as the employment facilitation programs of the national government. It also reviews international literature on the implementation of active labor market programs (ALMPs) of government. The resource persons in the forum were Dr. Danilo Israel and Dr. Marife Ballesteros, senior research fellows at the PIDS.
Highlights: Dr. Ballesteros started with an overview of the objectives of the study, which included the review of relationship between growth and employment, examination of international literature on the implementation of active labor market programs (ALMPs) of government, and the analysis of various employment facilitation programs of national government. She discussed how economic growth should lead to job creation. However, the faster growth in the Philippine economy has not led to more jobs as unemployment remained unchanged, while underemployment continued to be high.
According to the ADB Country Diagnostic Study (2007) and WB Philippine Development Report (2013), the economy had difficulty creating sufficient jobs due to policy distortions, lack of competition in some sectors (e.g. power), complex regulations, insecure property rights, severe underinvestment of government and private sector on infrastructure; and generally high levels of failure among micro and small enterprises.
Government initiatives on job creation currently include programs that increase employability (e.g. trainings, human resource development), direct employment (cash for work programs), employment facilitation/support services (job matching, grants), and microenterprise development programs.
Findings indicate that the Rural Microenterprise Finance Project exceeded all key performance targets such as 435,654 micro-enterprise clients with increased employment (target: 300,000), 98% of which are women (target: 90%). Increase in assets is more pronounced at higher loan cycles, but cannot be attributed solely to the project. In addition, very few microfinance institutions have the “ultra poor” as clients.
The poor continue to face barriers to finance while microenterprises with potential usually select low-value livelihood options with poor growth prospects. Most programs show high accomplishment in terms of job targets but the accounting of these jobs has to be examined in terms of basis for job targets, jobs vis-à-vis employment, new jobs generated and sustained jobs, direct jobs in relation to indirect jobs, and the cost of generating jobs.
In the second part of the forum, Dr. Danilo Israel presented parts of the PIDS-DBM study on government employment facilitation, particularly on the framework for analyzing ALMPs; data on government programs/projects which are related to employment generation particularly at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DOTC), and Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). He also discussed requirements and weaknesses/constraints, which contributed to the success or failure of programs/projects of government agencies in the past; approaches to employment generation in other countries and common success factors for potential application in the Philippines’ case; other issues/concerns/challenges encountered in employment generation; and findings and recommendations.
For DOLE’s employment facilitation programs, both the Special Employment Program of Students and DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) had physical accomplishment rates of 99.03% and 145.18% respectively, for the period January to December 2012. However, the financial aspect of the DILP have utilization rates of only 12.23%. For the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, which is aimed to hire workers for emergency employment and fund livelihood projects, only 10 out of 28 agencies had high physical accomplishment rates as of December 2009.
For DA, accomplishments under the Community-Based Employment Program (CBEP) are much higher in the non-infrastructure aspect (i.e. integrated farming, Accelerated Coconut Planting & Replanting Program, Fishing Paraphernalia Distribution, Agrikultura: Kaagapay ng Bayang Pinoy Program) at 94.82% compared to the infrastructure (farm-to-market roads) facet of the program at 57.86% in 2012.
Meanwhile, the DPWH’s CBEP for the same period meanwhile had physical accomplishment rates of 63.05%, while the financial utilization rates were much lower at 20.66%. For the Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program (AHMP) Projects implemented by the Department for the period January 2005-August 2009, average accomplishment rate for the period was at 85.14%. On the other hand, employment generated by the program was 24.8 million man-days and 328,364 workers.
Issues, concerns, and challenges encountered in employment facilitation programs include the need to establish a methodology to assess the success or failure and overall impact of government programs. Project monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment should also be a regular function of implementing agencies. There was also a lack of government resources in terms of personnel and budget devoted to the conduct of project monitoring evaluation and impact assessment.
It was therefore recommended for Departments to undertake at the least annual, mid-term and terminal monitoring and evaluation of employment facilitation programs and projects with the end in view of making pertinent proposals for project continuation, improvement, or termination, as is warranted. Appropriate baseline information and methodologies should likewise be developed for monitoring and information. Such monitoring and evaluation function should be supported with adequate financial and manpower resources, among others.
During the open forum, some of the observations and issues highlighted include the practice or effort of national government agencies (NGAs) in labelling their respective programs with “employment generation” tags in order to secure the funding. As such, there is need to assess the allocation and disbursement of the national budget in regard to agency programs on employment facilitation, including those that have already been terminated but had very significant budget implications. It was also pointed out that in the study that was discussed, the quality of jobs generated was not highlighted as employment facilitation programs of government only indicated the number of jobs generated.
Among the objectives of the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan (PDP) is the mitigation of the high unemployment rates. The achievement of this target relies heavily on the role of the private sector since improving the job market is largely dependent on investments. The role of government in this regard is the improvement of the policy environment and the facilitation of employment generation in the private sector.
The government’s role in addressing job-skills mismatch was also raised, since it has been noted that current graduates do not meet the requirements certain existing job vacancies in the Philippine economy. Training and other human resource programs with tie-ups or linkages with industries are meant to address the job skills mismatch. Among the solutions that have been bandied about is the consideration of certain aspects in the curricula of the K-12 Basic Education Program in the latter years that can partly help address this mismatch and also assist students not just in landing a job, but also in specialization in certain fields.
Study of Employment Generation Programs of Government Agencies by Ms. Marife Ballesteros, Ph. D., PIDS
Study of Employment Generation Programs of Philippines Government Agencies (Part II) by Mr. Danilo C. Israel, Ph. D., PIDS