By Catherine S. Valente And Fatima Cielo Cancel Reporters
Malacañang on Thursday claimed the jobless rates throughout the country increased because of a few seasonal jobs during the past holidays.
The number of unemployed Filipinos had climbed to 11.1 million from 10.1 million individuals, as shown in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted last March 19-22.
This was despite the 6.6-percent growth in the Philippine economy last year, driven by the services, trade, real estate and construction sectors.
The unemployment rate among working Filipinos aged 18 and above increased by 25.4 percent surpassing the projected rate of 24.6 percent in December last year, the recent Joblessness survey pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed on Thursday.
The survey conducted from March 19 to 22, was first published in SWS media partner BusinessWorld.
In January, SWS said that the official unemployment rate in the country was at 7.1 percent
or about 2.89 million jobless Filipinos, also higher than the October rate of 6.8 percent.
SWS said that unemployment among Filipinos aged 18 and above has been high since May 2005. SWS added it only dropped below 20 percent only three times since then. SWS reported that the last time unemployment rate was below 20 percent was in September 2010, when the rate was only at 18.9 percent.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda, however, said that the survey was based to “seasonal” types of jobs during December.
“Doon sa last year’s Dec. 25—24.6 at saka 25.4 ngayon, normally you will have temporary—maraming temporary jobs for December,” he said
“Seasonal iyan, alam natin. Panahon iyan ng Kapaskuhan, kaya marami tayong nakukuhang mga seasonal jobs for that,” he added.
The Aquino administration, Lacierda said, is already addressing the problem by generating more jobs in three specific sectors: Tourism, agriculture and infrastructure.
“We are, in fact, creating jobs in the three areas which we have emphasized; tourism, agriculture and infrastructure,” he said
He said the government, through the Department of Tourism, is taking steps to translate the increase in tourist arrivals to more jobs for Filipinos.
“So we’re taking jobs in areas where we can generate more employment,” Lacierda said.
“We hope this will continue.”
However, Lacierda admitted that this will not happen overnight, but “the thrust is there,
the commitment to better the situation of our countrymen is there.”
“We want to make sure that we have more jobs to take more employment for our people,” he said
“That’s a thrust and a commitment from this government to our Filipino people,” he added.