Business Beat; Creating Jobs
Byline: MELITO S. SALAZAR JR.
AS the country celebrates Labor Day, tomorrow, one wishes there were more job opportunities in the Philippines for the unemployed and those graduates who recently entered the labor pool. One wonders what can make it happen. It's not really that difficult because the answers have always been there but government, business and labor have not or are not, willing to make the right decisions and actions.
The government officials know that an enabling environment for business and industry will lead not only to survival but also to the growth of enterprises. If government will build the proper infrastructure of roads, bridges, shipping ports and airports, this network will facilitate the trade of goods and services between islands and with the rest of the world. If government will dismantle the oligopoly in the shipping, air transport and support industries and allow foreign companies to come in and provide the competition that will improve services and decrease costs for the consumers, then businesses will expand. If government truly decreases the size of the bureaucracy by abolishing agencies that have outlived their purposes; reconfiguring departments to stress a new focus consistent with the demands of international competition; and adopting a mindset that concentrates on what policies and programs can help the entrepreneur succeed rather than trying to make it difficult for businessmen to do business, thousands of enterprises will bloom, dotting landscape with more jobs for the people.
What greater help there would be for the Philippine exporters if ambassadors concentrate on the economic and trade aspects rather than political matters as a major part of their job in a Department of International Trade and Foreign Affairs? What better support for rice farmers by giving outright subsidies from the government to grow bountiful harvests or collect substantial crop insurance for failed harvests due to typhoons rather than have a National Food Authority that pays for imported rice benefiting foreign farmers? How encouraged businessmen would be if they are treated well and pay their local license fees and taxes in comfortable surroundings as have been provided in the Quezon City hall by Mayor Sonny Belmonte?
What tremendous savings there would be if government officials in all branches of government will be paid salaries at the level of their private sector counterparts? In the legislature, this will mean abolishing the allowances that senators and congressmen get being chairmen of various committees; setting standard pay for their staffs rather than a lump sum for each office resulting in a wide disparity of capability of staff support and removing the pork barrel by whatever name it is called. In the judiciary, this will make it attractive for more honest lawyers to aspire for a judicial career and improve the quality of the bench. …