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VP Leni rallies traders to support economic gains

MANILA --- Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesdy (oct. 19) called on the country’s top business leaders to continue supporting the present administration’s initiatives for economic reforms whose benefits should go down to the welfare of the people, many of whom are marginalized and poor. “Progress must be inclusive,” she stressed. The vice president was the keynote speaker during the opening of the 2-day Philippine Business Conference at the Fiesta Pavilion of the famed Manila Hotel. Robredo was addressing over a thousand officers and representatives of the various chambers of commerce and industry in the country allied with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industrry (PCCI). It is the biggest annual gathering of Filipino traders and businessmen, with guests from foriegn business chambers from USA, Australia, China, and Southeast Asia. Robredo said good governance and investments initiated in the past are now bearing fruit as shown by the impressive economic growth which some reports said has been climbing by as much as 6% to 6.5% in 2016 and earlier. The vice president who is not known to be allied politically with the Duterte Administration said that the present government, in collaboration with the business sector, should focus its efforts on three key areas to sustain economic growth. These are: tax reform, infrastructure development, and acceleration of foreign direct investment. She sees though that while there are more jobs waiting, many seem not to be qualified for the jobs. “There is a disconnect between jobs available and the people qualified to fill them in,”Robredo said. For example, she said, there is a strong demand for applicants in the BPO industry but not enough are qualified or trained for the job. “We should use the senior high school program to expand employment, “ the vice president said as she noted that the government is now working to improve the school curriculum to meet employment demands. Top officers from local business chambers in Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, and Metro Naga are among the participants in the annual business conference, which is the 34th this year. The Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry is represented by its president, Gilbeert Albero, and Directors Ferdinand Sia, Joe Perez, Leanne Montemayor, Fred Perdon, Gia Veloso, and PCCI Bicol Governor Clarine Tobias, President Duterte will be the keynote speaker in today’s (Oct. 19) closing ceremonies. jbp

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