The Philippines continues to traverse an upward trend of economic gains, as it climbed 12 notches to reach the 58th spot in The Heritage Foundation’s 2017 Index of Economic Freedom (IEF), from 70th among all ranked countries the year before. With an overall score of 65.6 (up from 63.1 in 2016), the Philippines maintains its stature as a moderately free economy—one that provides an institutional environment where individuals, as well as private enterprises, benefit from at least a modest degree of economic freedom in seeking greater competitiveness, prosperity, and growth

This was the highlighted findings of the Institute for Labor Studies’ February 2018 Philippine Performance Report (PPR). The report analyzes labor market indicators and research findings and observations in global and national development reports such as those coming from The Heritage Foundation.

Significantly, the Philippines’ Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR), or the measure of the proportion of a country’s working-age population that engages actively in the labor market, stood at 63.4% in 2016, based on latest available data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.  ILO estimates for 2017 put the country’s LFPR at 64.8%–slightly better than the world average (62.8%) and Asia and the Pacific average (63.2%), but significantly lagging behind the average for all South East Asian Nations, at 70.2%.

Broad-based objectives relating to the thrust of increasing LFPR that are outlined in the 2017 Plans and Targets of the Department of Labor and Employment include: (i) facilitation of placement and job matching of jobseekers, and (ii) enhancement of employability of workers assisted. Programs/initiatives geared toward the achievement of these objectives include: Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), JobStart, Government Internship Program (GIP), establishment of Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) all over the country, continuing Labor Market Information (LMI) drive, Career Guidance Advocacy Program, and PhilJobNet.

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