• PH unemployment to worsen, warns ILO

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    Jobseekers scan a board for possible work openings at a job fair held by the Department of Labor and Employment on Thursday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Labor groups have blamed the country’s high jobless rate on the government’s failure to come up with clear-cut measures to generate employment. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

    Jobseekers scan a board for possible work openings at a job fair held by the Department of Labor and Employment on Thursday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Labor groups have blamed the country’s high jobless rate on the government’s failure to come up with clear-cut measures to generate employment. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

    DESPITE the country’s robust economic growth, unemployment is expected to worsen even beyond the term of President Benigno Aquino 3rd due to “global spillovers,” the International Labor Organization (ILO) said.

    In a recently released executive summary, ILO said the 7.3 percent unemployment rate in the Philippines for 2013 was the highest among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member-countries and other nations in the Pacific region.

    Data culled from the Global Employment Trends indicated that until 2017, the country’s unemployment rate will steadily rise to 7.3 percent in 2014, 7.4 percent in 2015, 7.4 percent in 2016 and 7.5 percent in 2017.

    “In the Philippines, despite robust economic growth in excess of 6.8 percent in the past two years, job growth has been subdued and the unemployment rate remained at around 7 percent throughout 2012 and 2013,” the ILO report said.

    Interestingly, the unemployment rate for the entire Southeast Asian region is forecast to remain steady at 4.3 percent until 2017.

    “GDP [gross domestic product]in the Philippines remained strong … supported by government spending on infrastructure,” the report said.

    Aquino will step down in June 2016.

    When he does and if the ILO forecast is to be believed, the Philippines will continue to have the worst joblessness rate in the Asia-Pacific region.

    When sought for comment, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Aquino administration is “intensifying job generation by promoting expansion and new investments in manufacturing and high value-added industries.”

    “This will create more high-quality jobs. Chronically high unemployment is being addressed through targeted skills training programs by Tesda and DOLE’s job-matching programs,” Coloma told The Manila Times. He was referring to the Technical Educational Skills Development Authority and the Department of Labor and Employment.

    Although Indonesia in 2013 posted the second highest unemployment rate at 6 percent, this figure is seen to taper off to 5.9 percent by 2017.

    “Economic growth in Indonesia, the region’s largest economy, is estimated to have moderated considerably in 2013 to 5.3 percent, compared with GDP growth exceeding 6.2 percent annually from 2010 to 2012 as demand for the economy’s exports slowed and the possibility of ‘monetary tapering’ in the United States raised volatility in Indonesia’s financial market,” the report stressed.

    For 2013, the unemployment rates in Asean countries are: Philippines, 7.3 percent; Indonesia, 6 percent; Brunei, 3.7 percent; Myanmar, 3.5 percent; Malaysia, 3.2 percent; Singapore, 3.1 percent; Vietnam and Laos, 1.4 percent each; Thailand, 0.8 percent; and Cambodia, 0.3 percent.

    On the other hand, the ILO projected that the Philippines will continue to dominate the unemployment data in 2017 with 7.5 percent, followed by Indonesia with 5.9 percent. Brunei will be at 2.9 percent; Myanmar, 3.7 percent; Malaysia, 3.3 percent; Singapore, 3.6 percent; Vietnam, 2.3 percent; Laos, 1.5 percent; Thailand, 0.9 percent; and Cambodia, 0.6 percent.

    “Almost 202 million people were unemployed in 2013 around the world, an increase of almost 5 million compared with the year before. This reflects the fact that employment is not expanding sufficiently fast to keep up with the growing labor force,” the ILO said.

    For Asean member-countries, it added, the Asean Economic Community 2015 “will present both opportunities and challenges in terms of growth prospects across different sectors, shifting trade patterns, the need to nurture comparative advantage within each country, skills mismatches and their implications on the labor market.”

    “In particular, a free flow of labor is envisioned within the Asean community, signaling both opportunities and challenges for jobseekers,” the ILO said.

    Disappointing
    With only two remaining years in office, the President is finding himself increasingly alienated from the very people he proudly proclaimed four years ago as his bosses.

    The labor coalition Nagkaisa (United) that led thousands of its members in a Labor Day march to Mendiola near Malacanang on Thursday described the last four years under Aquino as “extremely disappointing.”

    The group said none of the most pressing concerns raised by organized labor such as contractualization and high electricity rates were seriously addressed, while extra-judicial killings, tax breaks and other urgent issues are locked under contentious discussions among political advisers and economic managers.

    Marching under the theme, “Hindi tuwid, hindi tama, hindi makatwiran kung pag-unlad ay para sa iilan lamang (It is not straight, it is not right, it is unjust if growth is only for a few),” Nagkaisa noted that growth will remain highly unequal when millions of workers remain contractuals.

    More than 70 percent of employed persons in the country, according to a study, are “non-regular workers.”

    Nagkaisa said it is upset that until now, the government has not produced a clear and viable roadmap on how to lower the price of electricity in the country.

    Seeing red
    Thousands of members of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) wore red shirts when they marched also on Thursday to express their dismay with the “elitist [Aquino administration] and its neo-liberal economic policies.”

    They joined the Nagkaisa marchers, who converged early morning at the Mabuhay Rotunda in Quezon City before marching to Mendiola.

    Leody de Guzman, BMP national president, chided the President for asking organized labor during a dialogue in Malacanang to give the government more time in looking at workers’ concerns.

    “Sorry, Mister President. The workers and the poor have no more time for your lame excuses. Time is a luxury that we do not have. Four years of indifference to our immediate and urgent demands are enough. Year after year, workers come out empty- handed on May Day as [you]can only promise to review their proposals,” de Guzman said.

    The BMP called for amendments to the Labor Code, including enactment of a living wage, abolition of regional wage boards, prohibition of contractual employment, liberalization of processes and requisites for union formation, criminalization of employers’ gross violations of the code and a 36-hour workweek.

    House Deputy Minority Leader Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list and Deputy Majority Floor Leader Sherwin Tugna of CIBAC party-list also on Thursday said the government should address the issue of low wages.

    “It is high time that the P125 across-the-board wage hike be prioritized and immediately implemented,” Colmenares said.

    He added that benefits under the Social Security System should also be expanded.

    WITH REINA TOLENTINO

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    5 Comments

    1. joey emilio on

      Ang mga Elitistang Aquino at ang mga Oligarsiya ang lalong nag pa hirap sa mga Pilipino…Simula ng silay namuno ang
      mga Aquino tinuluyang nila isina pibado na nila lahat ng pag aari ng Gobyerno at sila mismo ang kakuntsaba at ang mga
      kamag anak, kaibigang Elitista kaya eto ang dahilan ng sobrang kahirapan ng mga pilipino

    2. Government has to balance the needs of both employer and employee/worker. Many businesses are just breaking even. For every employer there are a lot more workers affected. Should the employer close shop, everybody loses because it also means the employees/workers also lose their jobs.

      It would be better to lower our taxes government heaps on the taxpayer(employer and employee) and give the power back to the people.

      Why? When government taxes us it is assuming that our money is better management by them to give us better services but we know its untrue. Our money goes to graft and corruption, lousy and backward government programs and pay apathetic government officials resulting to inefficient and wasteful spending. The fact that our taxes keep on increasing is because of this.

      We know our problems and we know the best solutions better than a government official scratching his belly in some government desk. We can decide quicker and more appropriately.

      A decrease in taxes would also mean a bigger take home pay for the employee/worker without burdening the employer.

      Everyone wins in the end.

    3. nagtaka pa kayo, sa dami ng population ng pinas compare sa iba bansa, tapos ayaw nyo support RH bill.na pd solution sa malaking population natin

    4. Robert del carmen on

      when president pinoy was elected as president i considered as ” BIG BIG BIG MISTAKE” to be elected him in higher position because he a reluctant & unexperience president in the philippine history … without vision ..mission … very very poor manager

    5. It is really a perplexing problem. In my opinion, this is the result of uncontrolled population growth, lack of necessary skills due to insufficient education and the attitude of some family and individuals. The exodus of workers to other countries and the rate of our economic growth should provide sufficient employment opportunities for those who opted to stay. The concept of self-employment is never a strong part of our culture. The family ties that we are proud of is in some ways a stumbling block. Many individuals would prefer to be unemployed while waiting for the “right employment” or a chance to go abroad to work even if it will mean years of dependence on enabling working parents and siblings. This has to be changed NOW and stop blaming the government as the only cause of embarrassing unemployment rate.