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Monday, July 05, 2010

New ILO Manila Director backs job creation, decent andproductive work in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - The new Director of the Country Office of the
International Labour Organization (ILO) in Manila says he supports the
Philippine government in its goal to promote decent and productive work.

*With the economic crisis we have seen the largest increase in unemployment
since the Great Depression,* said Mr Lawrence Jeffrey Johnson, the new
Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines. *The impact of the
economic crisis on vulnerable employment and labour productivity means the
number of workers living with their families in poverty is likely to have
increased. We see workers living on the margin and at risk of falling
into poverty. As the economy recovers we need to look at employment policies
strategies to help create both decent and productive employment*

Mr Johnson spoke after witnessing the inauguration of President Benigno
Aquino III. In his inaugural speech President Aquino said he will revive
emergency employment programme to provide jobs for local communities and
help in
the development of the economy. Referring to Overseas Filipino Workers
the President highlighted the goal of creating jobs at home so that there
be no need to look for employment abroad. President Aquino ordered relevant
agencies to be even more responsive to the needs and welfare of OFWs.

President Aquino also cited the need to strengthen efforts to fund quality
education, including vocational education for those who cannot find decent
The President said he will implement stable economic policies, level the
playing field for investors and make government an enabler, not a hindrance

Speaking after the ceremony Mr Johnson added that it was also important for
Philippines to find ways to increase productivity. *We believe that
productivity and employment growth are the cornerstones of the fight against
poverty,* he said. *A highly trained and educated labour force combined with
easy access to capital and technology can lead to a significant increase in
productivity and help boost the country*s economy. Dialogue with employers*
and workers* organizations is also crucial.*

Mr Johnson officially took over as the new Director of the ILO Country
for the Philippines on July 1st following the retirement of Ms Linda Wirth.
Johnson joined the ILO in 1997. Before coming to Manila he served as Chief
the ILO Employment Trends Team, which produces major ILO reports including
annual Global Employment Trends and Key Indicators of the Labour Market. Mr
Johnson also served as technical expert on the United Nations Inter-agency
Expert Group for the Millennium Development Goals, and has longstanding
experience as a consultant and expert working in Africa, Central America,
Caribbean, East Asia, Eastern and Central Europe, Middle East as well as in
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

Mr Johnson is an expert on labour market indicators, trends and evaluation,
employment and labour market policy and information, wages and earnings, and
hours of work. Prior to joining the ILO, he spent more than ten years as a
Labour Market Economist with the United States Department of Labor in

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