MANILA -- The Philippines is hoping to spur economic recovery with jobs in construction and the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, the country's labor chief said Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic threatens with more job losses.
The government expects employment to "bounce back" with the help of BPOs and construction, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
"Umaasa kami rito sa BPO. Maaaring tutulong yan sa pagbounce back natin dahil alam naman natin na marami sa ating kababayan ang walang trabaho," Bello said during a virtual press briefing on Wednesday.
(We are pinning our hopes on BPOs. That can help us bounce back because we know that many of our countrymen don't have jobs.)
He added that a BPO firm already contacted the government to seek help for the hiring of 6,000 call center agents.
A big part of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry expects to expand this year despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines earlier said almost half of the companies it surveyed are still optimistic about growth this year, with strong demand from the healthcare, telecoms, e-commerce and logistics sectors.
The hiring of construction workers meanwhile is expected to boom as the government goes full blast on its "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program, Bello said.
"Dito naman sa construction, malaki ang pag-asa natin diyan dahil ngayon na full implementation ang public works," he said.
(We have a big chance with construction because our public works are on full implementation.)
"It will generate a lot of construction work and we will have a lot of construction workers getting back their employment status," he added.
In April, the Philippines' unemployment rate ballooned to a record 17.7 percent or equivalent to 7.3 million jobless Filipinos, according to government data.
The labor department had said that it expects over 4 million more workers to lose their jobs by the end of the year.