On 28 January 2022, the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) Task Force unveiled its updated recovery agenda during a consultative meeting with the labor sector conducted over Zoom. The meeting was called by the DOLE, which co-chairs the task force alongside DTI and TESDA, to seek inputs from workers’ representatives on how to implement the strategy more holistically.

The NERS serves as the government’s masterplan for the recovery of the labor market adversely affected by the pandemic. Its implementation through the NERS Task Force was first conceived on 5 February 2021, before it was instituted by the President on 25 June 2021 through Executive Order No. 140.

On 1 May 2021, during the TGER-NERS Job Summit on Labor Day, the Task Force presented its original employment recovery agenda which included eight priority actions structured according to its four targeted outcomes: restarting economic activities, restoring consumer and business confidence, upgrading and retooling the workforce, and facilitating labor market access.

The updated agenda streamlines and recalibrates these action points, taking into consideration results of engagements with stakeholders, the prevailing labor market condition, and the Labor and Business Sectors’ Agenda output of the 2021 Job Summit:

  • Institutionalize NERS and its initiatives across all relevant government agencies
  • Improve governance and enhance business environment to expand domestic capacities
  • Promote retooling and upskilling • Provide social protection and assistance to workers
  • Active engagement of partners through social dialogue

“The consultation demonstrates the task force’s commitment to a whole-of-society approach to recovery,” explains Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay who heads the NERS Task Force Secretariat.

“The updated agenda highlights our focus on multisectoral collaborations and partnerships to drive employment growth amid this pandemic,” she continued, “To this end, we continuously push for the creation of a monitoring platform for cross referencing of beneficiaries across different agencies. Such a tool will grant us a bird’s eye view of the recovery effort and help up determine which beneficiaries from one program can be referred to another for employment or entrepreneurship, depending on their preferred track.