• Acts of God should not be Malacañang’s scapegoat

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    WITH so much reconstruction and rehabilitation tasks to be done, the government has not seen to harnessing idle or untapped manpower in areas harrowed by calamities.

    Calamities ought not to be another lame excuse nor convenient scapegoat of Malacañang to explain why 12.1 million Filipinos are jobless, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Tuesday.

    Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action, said the government should survey disaster-hit areas and turn up better figures of unemployment in those areas.

    While a Social Weather Station (SWS) survey has placed unemployment figures at 12.1 million, Gariguez believes that the numbers of jobless Filipinos in disaster-hit areas are less.

    He pointed out that most calamity victims had to attend to rebuilding tasks and are thus at work moments after the disaster struck.

    Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda earlier blamed calamities to help “explain” why unemployment rate increased to 27.5 percent at the end of 2013.

    The latest SWS survey showed that 27.5 percent of the country’s total work force did not have a job by end-2013 from the 21.7 percent in September last year.

    Meanwhile, Gariguez said that the SWS survey has belied the high gross domestic product growth in 2013 that the President holds in high esteem.

    “True growth is inclusive growth,” he said.

    He noted that the real growth happens if there is poverty rate decrease and the involvement of people into the growth process of the country increases.

    “Ito iyong katunayan noong sinasabi natin na hindi nararamdaman ang pag-unlad dahil hindi talaga nasasakop iyong mga walang-wala,” he said.

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