Speeches & Transcripts

Employment and Poverty in the Philippines

June 17, 2016

Mara Warwick, Country Director, World Bank Philippines Taguig City, Philippines

As Prepared for Delivery

Opening Remarks

Mara Warwick

Country Director, World Bank Philippines

June 17, 2016, 11am

World Bank Office, Taguig City

Good morning everyone. Thank you for attending today’s briefing on this important report – the Labor Market Review.

I’m so excited to be here with you today. This is my second media conference as country director. This is an important report with important insights on how the country can accelerate reforms that contribute to attaining sustained inclusive growth.

Today’s report, the Labor Market Review, takes a deeper look at the domestic labor market at the national level. It analyzes the labor market performance in the Philippines from the perspective of workers’ welfare.  Its main goal is to identify labor market constraints to reducing poverty and sharing prosperity, and to suggest ways to address them.

The report takes off from the “Philippines Development Report (PDR): Creating More and Better Jobs released in 2013.

The message of that report was that the Philippines has a great window of opportunity to deepen reforms that will put the country on an irreversible path towards inclusive growth – one that generates more jobs and reduces extreme poverty.

If the Philippines could sustain reforms that would improve property rights; enhance competition; put more resources in health, education, and infrastructure; and simplify business regulations, the country make growth even more inclusive.

This new report shows that contrary to some perceptions, economic growth in the last 10 years has created enough jobs to absorb the growing labor force.  Still, many workers remain underemployed.

The Philippine economy has been growing at around of 5-6 percent, while the working population and jobs have been growing at an average of 1.8 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. However, many of the newly created jobs are precarious and low-paying.

Labor productivity has also been growing at 3.4 percent a year. However, the growth of real wages has yet to catch up with the rising productivity. Hence, the main challenge is sustaining the country’s efforts to generate more “good” jobs that can liftpeople out of poverty.

With sound macro-economic fundamentals and strong growth, the Philippines is well positioned to address this challenge.

Thank you and a pleasant day to all of you.

I would like to turn you over now to my colleagues Jan and Sashka who will discuss the highlights of the report.