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Marcos pitches young PHL workforce to potential EU investors

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. touted the young, trainable Philippine workforce to European executives, the Palace said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Office of the Press Secretary said Mr. Marcos also assured the executives of an improving business climate at a roundtable discussion in Brussels.

“Apart from being young, the Philippine workforce is distinguished by high trainability… proficiency in English language, technological skill, cost-efficiency, cultural adaptability and a low turn-over or attrition rate,” he said.

The President noted that partnering with the Philippines would give investors favorable access to the Southeast Asian market, which has a population of about 600 million.

The Philippine labor force is nearly 50 million strong, and its education system produces 800,000 graduates in various fields each year, the Palace said.

Job quality in October improved as the underemployment rate — defined as the proportion of employed people looking for more work — eased to 14.2% from 15.4% in September, according to the Philippines Statistics Authority.

The jobless rate fell to 4.5% in October, the lowest since October 2019, before the pandemic hit.

The President also updated the executives on his administration’s plan to establish green lanes in government agencies to fast-track applications for strategic investment projects.

Last month, he said the measure will reduce delays in government approvals and ensure the smooth entry of foreign direct investment.

The Philippines ranked 95th out of 190 countries in the World Bank Doing Business Report in 2020.

At the roundtable, Mr. Marcos said the Philippines remains committed to participating in the European Union’s (EU) Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), which allows the duty-free entry of over 6,000 products from the country to EU member states.

GSP+ requires the Philippines to uphold its commitments to 27 international conventions on labor, human rights, good governance, and climate action.

The European Parliament in 2019 approved a resolution asking the previous Philippine administration to address human rights and labor violations, which threatened the country’s GSP+ beneficiary status.

In October, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said the Philippines will seek to renew its participation in the trade scheme.

“I would like to assure you that the Philippine government will continue to provide support for businesses and investments to continuously grow and prosper,” Mr. Marcos said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez