The passage of the newly-signed corporate recovery and tax incentives for enterprises (CREATE) law will open additional local employment, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

After jobless rate inched up to 8.8 percent in February from 8.7 percent in January, Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said the enactment of CREATE is a welcome development to job seekers.

Beltran explained that savings from lower corporate tax rates should encourage enterprises to retain or rehire their employees.

“CREATE is a welcome development not only in improving the country’s long-term competitiveness but also in providing immediate relief and support for enterprises, the important players in providing employment opportunities to a large portion of the population,” Beltran said.

The country’s jobs situation in February was the worst since the April last year’s 17.6 percent unemployment rate, or during the country’s strictest lockdowns.

The number of unemployed Filipinos 15 years old and above was also 234,000 more than the reported four million individuals in January.

As the country continued to record sharp spike in infections, Beltran also said the government should have either pharmaceutical or non-pharmaceutical interventions, and with the conscientious participation of all, to contain the pandemic.

“While we have not yet reached the extent of infection spread as in Europe and the Americas, we do not want to reach those levels that would call for drastic measure as we did last year,” Beltran said in his latest economic bulletin.

But if strict quarantine measures are necessary to control the transmission, he said it should be localized, time-bound and should not unnecessarily hamper the transportation of goods and delivery of services.

According to Beltran, the COVID-19 crisis in the country has resulted in “unpleasant double-effect” where policy decisions are anchored on choosing between health and economy.

“In the process of attempting to stem the spread of the disease the risk of inadvertently killing the proverbial patient increases,” Beltran said.

In a joint statement last week, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado and Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said that Filipinos have endured joblessness, loss of income, and hunger for over a year now.

Filipinos also suffered lack of treatment for their non-COVID illnesses, the economic managers said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (