Last June 25, 2012, I was invited to be a reactor to Dr. Fernando Albada’s work entitled “A Framework for Promoting Decent Work by Integrating Employment in Industrial Policies”, organized by the Institute of Labour Studies, supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The paper explained the impact of previous industrial policies (from 1950 to present) to employment in the Philippines, the success and failure of these policies to grow the industrial sector and employment, the present and future labour challenges and more importantly provided a framework to integrated employment into industrial and sectoral policies.
In my opinion, DOLE is the third government department that supports a renewed focus on industry and industrial policy, the others would be the DTI and the DOST.
One could feel the enthusiasm of the representative of the different labour groups as they expressed support for industry planning, as a long-delayed approach to inclusive economic growth. I sense their guarded optimism as the DTI announced that they are now working with no less than 40 sectoral roads maps.
For my part, I explained how valuable Dr. Aldaba’s work is for industry associations currently working on their respective roadmaps. I shared my experience in ongoing Philippine Chemical Masterplan and my perception on the development of other sectoral road maps that I’ve been involved with, and how we in industry look forward to the integration of these sectoral plans into a comprehensive industry strategy for the Philippines.
The NSCB announced that Philippine GDP in Q1 grew 6.4% (at constant prices), a surprise result that surpassed all analyst’s forecast. The NSCB attributes this strong growth to the services sector that delivered an 11.6% growth for the period, but they also noted that manufacturing has finally recovered from the past quarters’ slump by delivering a 5.7% growth rate. To compare, below are recent quarter’s performance of the manufacturing sector.
Q4 2011 – 3.8%
Q3 2011- 3.1%
Q2 2011 – 4.8%
Q1 2011 – 8.6%
The NSCB also reported that the top 5 manufacturing subsectors that contributed to growth are: “Food Manufactures, which expanded to 6.0 percent from 3.7 percent; Furniture and Fixtures, which soared to 86.6 percent from 50.9 percent; Wearing Apparel, 52.2 percent from 8.1 percent; Radio, Television and Communication Equipment & Apparatus, 2.3 percent from 13.7 percent; and, Non Metallic Mineral products, 24.2 percent from 8.4 percent.”
This is a good start for the manufacturing sector in 2012, but there are serious headwinds like the Greek-exit and the China slowdown, which could limit the growth opportunities short term, if we cannot mitigate them. Hopefully, we can rely on domestic demand as we’ve had in the past as external trade is impacted by the global challenges mentioned.
A summary of Philippine manufacturing related news in May 2012: