Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla reiterated his commitment to create 50,000 new jobs in the next 18 months.

Garcia Padilla, who was elected last November, took part in San Juan in the 2013 Business Summit, where he announced that he had sent to the U.S. Congress and the Puerto Rican legislature the Jobs Now Act.

The proposed legislation includes a package of measures that the governor said will allow thousands of Puerto Ricans to be hired at a time when the island's unemployment rate stands at 13.6 percent.

The text includes tax incentives for companies who hire workers within the next 18 months.

It establishes a salary subsidy of up to 25 percent for a period of 18 months for companies that hire any of the thousands of public employees laid off by the previous administration.

Any new business will be able to postpone the payment of bills to the state-owned electric and water utilities.

Garcia Padilla said during his speech that the measure will give an immediate boost to the development of the agricultural sector since the government currently spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year to buy food destined for schools and prisons from foreign companies.

The aim is for more than 75 percent of the products used in school cafeterias to be provided by Puerto Rican farmers, the governor said. EFE