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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Solons urge the Aquino administration to address unemployment problem
Writer: Jazmin S. Camero, MRS-PRIB
26 February 2011 09:38:06 AM

Lawmakers today urged the Aquino government to adopt an urgent measure to address the growing number of unemployed Filipino people, which has now reached 2.83 million.

"The increasing number of jobless Filipinos is but natural because the present administration does not have a specific policy that will protect the agriculture and local industry," said Rep. Rafael Mariano (Party-list, Anakpawis).

"If only the government will protect the local industries from smuggling, global competition and trade liberalization policy, then unemployment and underemployment will not be a cause of concern," Mariano said.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) recently disclosed that about 2.86 million Filipinos are unemployed and 6.76 million are underemployed as of 2010.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also reported that more than 34,000 companies, establishments and factories have closed down from 1995 to June of 2010 affecting 881,000 workers.

"The National Statistics Office (NSO) report on the jobless rate in the country is a huge challenge to the present government as it is mandated to promote full employment," Mariano said.

"There are three major reasons why unemployment and underemployment continue to rise in the country, the loss of market, reorganization and outsourcing and financial losses," according to Mariano.

"Many of our local entrepreneurs are export oriented. They are dependent on the world market because of the major trading partners abroad. Changes and loss of market are inevitable. Recent events of reorganization and outsourcing of large companies are now being done in the guise of financial losses, thus the reason for the underemployment rate of 18.7 percent," Mariano said.

The Anakpawis Party-list has filed House Bills 375, the P125 wage hike bill, and HB 374, the agrarian reform of 2010, which seek to help the Aquino administration to address unemployment and underemployment, Mariano said.

"I have also filed a bill accelerating the nation’s irrigation development program for six years that will cover 70 percent of 3.1 million irrigable land areas of the nation," Mariano said.

"The program may not be a labor intensive project but will strengthen and push growth of the agrarian sector which needs more protection from the government. The simple equipment of our agriculture and fishery sectors are not fit for global competition," Mariano said.

Rep. Walden Bello (Party-list, Akbayan) said the Aquino government should address the problems on underemployment and unemployment seriously and create labor-intensive policies that will result to more job opportunities.

"The NSO report showed that even if the country has a high growth rate that does not necessarily translate into more jobs," Bello said.

"I think the Aquino government should take the NSO report seriously, because if they just keep on relying on high-growth statistics they might not be paying attention to the fact that jobless is growing," Bello said.

"There are lots of needed investments that create labor intensive policies that the government may provide. Congress should be able to provide the necessary money to be able to carry out the needed capital expenditures," Bello said.