• Layman, Lie-man

    4

    Why do OFWs leave home and, even when confronted with extreme danger – still refuse to come home?

    The answer is based on real life situations, not from official number crunchers. OFWs, after all, cannot eat statistics, no matter how sumptuous the praise releases are.

    While Mark Twain popularized the phrase, the American author is reported to have attributed it to 19th century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

    Most OFWs are laymen. At the other end of the spectrum – those who spray statistics like deodorant would be considered Lie-Men.

    Statistics from NEDA. The Philippine economy expanded by 6.4 percent in the second quarter of the year, higher than the revised 5.6 percent in the first quarter but below the government’s full-year target of 6.5-7.5 percent.

    Despite being lower than the 7.9% growth registered a year ago, however, Director-General Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the Philippines remains as a top performer in Asia.

    How fast are Filipinos getting employed at home?
    On August 7, 2014, the same NEDA Secretary General said that “(d) espite the Philippines’ stellar economic growth, employment opportunities have not been enough to reduce joblessness.”

    Continuing, Balicasan admitted that “the increases in the total number of productive employment opportunities has not been enough to absorb the new entrants to the fast-growing labor force and the reduce the huge stock of unemployed and underemployed workers.”

    The August 7 statement was given to lawmakers at the presentation of the proposed P2.6 trillion national budget for 2015 at the House of Representatives. NEDA was painting a less rosy picture to get its budget. Two weeks later, Balicasan issued a praise release about the Philippine economy being a top performer in Asia.

    Where Filipinos are employed at home – 2012-2014 (in millions)home20140908
    Services represents 53.4% of total employment in all industries followed by agriculture with 31.4 percent.

    Services include those in the wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (includes sari-sari stores, small shops – (which make up 6.8M or almost 35% of total Services); transportation and storage (drivers, pier workers), accommodation and food service activities (tourism, hospitality related).

    How much do Filipinos earn and spend at home?
    The Department of Labor and Employment shows the total and average income, total and average expenses in selected regions, below.

    Notice the discrepancy in average income between the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) and the rest of the country. Such imbalance engenders local migration from the countryside to the Cities. In fact, even within a region, there is an influx of skills and workers (therefore, families as well) from the towns to major cities.major-cities20140908
    Of the 38.1M employed Filipinos at home in 2013 on the average, 21.5M are wage and salary workers; 10.6M are self-employed; 1.3M in family owned farms or businesses; and 4.1M worked without pay in their own family-operated farm or business.

    Wages move Filipinos from provinces to cities
    The average daily basic pay for wage and salary workers for 2013 are: 155.87 for those working in private households; 312.51 for private establishments; 248.41 for those working in their own family-operated farm or business.

    On the other hand, those working in the government or government corporations earn an average of 621.11 per day.

    Is it any wonder people want to run for office and get their relatives, friends, classmates, shooting buddies in government positions?buddy20140908
    The figures above show how much an income earner for a family or 4.6 members earn and spend on an annual, monthly and weekly basis. Notice the discrepancy in average income between the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) and the rest of the country. Such imbalance engenders local migration from the countryside to the Cities. In fact, even within a region, there is an influx of skills and workers (therefore families as well) from the towns to major cities, especially where Business Outsourcing companies are located.

    Of the approximately 1,000 call centers in the Philippines, 764 are located in Metro Manila; followed by Metro Cebu – 44, Pampanga – 31; Metro Davao and Naga City – 10 each; Baguio – 8; Iloilo and Bacolod – 13; General Santos – 3 and Zamboanga – 1.

    Of the 38.1M employed Filipinos at home in 2013 on the average, 21.5M are wage and salary workers; 10.6M are self-employed; 1.3M in family owned farms or businesses; and 4.1M worked without pay in their own family-operated farm or business.

    How many Filipinos leave to find temporary and permanent jobs overseas?
    Because of their inability to find quality jobs here at home, 1,836,345 Overseas Filipino Workers left for jobs overseas in 2013, an increase over the previous year’s deployment of 1,802,031, according to the 2013 POEA report.

    In 2012, the Commission on Overseas Filipinos estimated that approximately 10.5 million Filipinos worked or resided abroad. (This is about eleven percent of the population figure of 94.01 estimated by the National Statistics Office.)

    OFW Remittances. $25.3B in 2013; $23.3B in 2012; $21.9B in 2011; $20/5B in 2010; $19B in 2009. Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released Tuesday, July 15, 2014, showed remittances rose by 5.4 percent in May to $2 billion. The growth was slightly better than the 5.2 percent recorded in April.

    Economic managers expect remittances to grow by 5 percent this year to reach a record high of $24 billion. Last year, these cash transfers made up over 8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

    Remittances are also a strong driver of domestic consumption, which accounts for two-thirds of the size of the economy fueling the building of malls, propelling Henry Sy, Sr. of SM Malls to the distinction of richest Filipino with a net worth of $13.2 billion or P571.1 billion pesos.

    In sum, it is clear that the “great performance” of the Philippine economy has not lifted the majority of Filipinos out of low-wage or no-wage suffering and that the “robust economy” is powered mainly by Overseas Filipinos and the business process outsourcing industry.

    Filipinos leave because of lack of quality jobs at home and call center agents thrive on higher salaries (compared to the wages of other workers in the Services industry) which – in reality – represent lower hiring and wage costs for employers overseas.

    It is understandable, therefore, that despite risks to life and limb, Filipinos who are trapped by civil war or exposure to extreme health hazards refuse to come home: there are simply not enough jobs to give their families a better life, despite what the Lie-Men say about a sterling economic performance.

    This – from a Layman point of view.

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    4 Comments

    1. Are the statistics being released by NEDA accurate or portray the real condition of our economy. Boasting that the GDP expanded by 6.4% is somewhat unbelievable since nobody felt any positive effect on the lives of our citizens, rather it was the reverse. Could NEDA have doctored it’s statistics to please Pnoy? Remember that Pnoy do not accept negative reports.

    2. Voice from the Wilderness on

      Yes, as a euphemism from a sari-sari store owner to would be creditor says, “your credit is good but we need cash” in the same vein that can be said to the present inconsequential Regime led by an inept president in malacanang, “your statistics is good but what the general public needs is CASH!