Emerging from the world’s longest lockdown, it is to note that the National Capital Region (NCR), alongside the whole Philippines, is now on its journey towards economic recovery. The country is slowly reopening its borders and its economy despite the inflicted scars of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic on both the economic and employment landscape.

Poised to revive a consumption-driven economy, the Department of Labor and Employment – National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) together with the City of Mandaluyong’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO) convened for a focus group discussion on the locality’s re-emerging industries on April 6, 2022.

Such discussion was called for as industries and sectors started progressively re-launching their businesses the instant the government eased restrictions. Further, it has increased consumer spending that has encouraged an upsurge in production and economic and employment activities.

Although vaccine hesitancy has remained a challenge, the government’s zealous campaign to inoculate its citizens has rather proved triumphant, as around 80 percent of NCR residents have already been fully vaccinated. This has restored consumer and investors’ confidence and provided ample protection to the masses to return to their pre-pandemic situations.

DOLE-NCR Senior Labor and Employment Officer Ryan Roberto E. Delos Reyes from the Employment Promotion and Workers Welfare Division was invited by PESO Mandaluyong to extend his expertise on the subject matter. Delos Reyes was also joined by Labor and Employment Officers, Mary Chelsea Espinosa and Ma. Allen Rose Carreon.

Mandaluyong City PESO Manager Emma L. Javier requested the meeting to brainstorm and discuss the needs of the re-emerging industries in their area, adding further that their PESO was tapped by foreign companies, expressing interest to expand their business in Mandaluyong City.

Now that the economy is more open and is relieved of such impediments, local and foreign investors have also started pouring in. Few of which are the well-known IKEA, a furniture retail company, which is set to open its second store in the country at the City of Mandaluyong; and CBTC Bank (Philippines) Corp, a foreign bank, also wishing to open its branch in the City.

DOLE-NCR representatives expressed their insights at the positive news. The relaxation of alert levels has resulted in resumption of businesses at an increased capacity thus allowing more Filipinos to regain their jobs and incomes; attract local and global investors; and generate employment opportunities for people.

Delos Reyes noted the importance of such focus group discussion to integrate and reinforce the re-emerging industries accordingly. He further discussed strategies and mechanisms whilst returning to normalcy.

DOLE-NCR’s participation in the said activity ascertains their commitment to providing technical assistance to co-duty bearers and stakeholders to promote employment facilitation on the ground. The regional office is determined to support workers, industries, and sectors alike in their employment and economic toil towards rebound.

Minimum health and safety protocols were strictly observed during the focus group discussion.

END / Mary Chelsea A. Espinosa