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The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Industry is booming in the Philippines. And with its prospects gleaming, the spotlight is now shifting to the Philippine furniture industry, which has rapidly expanded over the years.

In view of this huge employment generation potentials of the industry, the ILS organized a Roundtable Discussion on developing Philippine MSME furniture firms for Job Creation on August 7, 2013 at the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) in North Avenue, Quezon City.

Due to growth and expansion, the furniture industry has diversified from wicker and rattan furniture to wood, metal, stone, bamboo, leather and other mixed media furniture. As a result, the furniture industry was ranked as one of the top ten manufacturing sectors in the Philippines in 2010 and as one of the top furniture exporters in Asia and one of the best producers of fine furniture in the world.

Based on data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), about 90 percent of 15,000 registered furniture firms in the country are MSMEs. These companies employ 500,000 direct employees, 300,000 indirect employees and about 1 million sub-contract workers and suppliers.

Given this trend, ILS Executive Director Cynthia R. Cruz said that this growth in the local furniture industry should be welcomed, particularly because of its potential and capacity to generate jobs and employment opportunities.

“We are finding a growth in demand for our local furniture industry. Given its labor-intensive nature and requirements, this industry has a huge potential in generating employment opportunities in the Philippine labor market,” Director Cruz said.

Further, Director Cruz said that the Rountable Discussion organized by the Institute further validated and affirmed the sense and feeling of the continuing growth and expansion of the Philippine furniture sector. She also said that the discussions provided an opportunity to find ways to improve and sustain the industry through decent work.

“During the Roundtable we were able to elicit inputs and insights from industry experts and workers, on how we can further improve the competitiveness of the furniture sector and how we can improve working conditions of workers in this industry such as occupational hazards, social protection concerns and social dialogue issues,” Cruz noted.

Invited to give a presentation on the furniture industry and its contribution to inclusive growth and employment generation was the Chamber of Furniture Industries in the Philippines, the leading association of furniture businesses and firms in the country.

Also invited to give their reactions and responses to the said presentation were the DOLE-ILS’ social partners in government, business and labor: the Department of Trade and Industry Bureau of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (BMSMED), the Philippine Exporters’ Confederation, and the Federation of Free Workers.

The ILS is the policy research and advocacy arm of the Department of Labor and Employment. Proceedings of this forum will be downloadable at their website at

(For more information on this press release please contact Mr. Bryan Balco, Labor & Employment Officer III, Advocacy & Publications Division, Institute for Labor Studies, Telephone Nos.: 5273490 / 5273447)

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