The labor center, Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) cites Malacañang’s announcement of at least 5 million jobs created in the last six years as nothing to be proud of, confirming the jobs deficit and poor economic performance of this government.
“Secretary Ignacio Bunye just established the lingering problem of joblessness as the government failed to meet its target of 1 million jobs a year to solve the unemployment problem,” said Danny Edralin, APL Chairperson.
The labor group also urges Secretary Bunye to bare the actual tenure of jobs created over the past six years citing the government’s own study on the rise of part-time and contractual jobs offered to desperate jobseekers.
“The government’s roadmap on employment, especially its continuous reliance on the business process outsourcing industry failed as the government’s surveys posted the record-high rates of unemployment and underemployment over the past 6 years,” said Edralin.
Edralin said the National Statistics Office’s Labor Force Survey recorded a rise in the number of unemployed by at least 1 million in the last 6 years and the number of underemployed at 2 million in the last 2 years.
The same survey found that the average job creation in 2005 fell to 700,000 from 980,000 in 2004. Jobs generation in 2006 picked up at 1.5 million jobs.
However, about 10 million Filipinos have become unemployed or underemployed in 2007, compared to 9.6 million only in January 2006. “With at least 1.5 million new workers expected to enter the labor markets every year, the country faces the formidable challenge of creating this much number of productive and better paying jobs,” said Danny Edralin, APL Chairperson.
The government’s Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP 2004–2010), has set a target of creating about 1.5 million jobs a year between 2004 and 2010, or a total of 10 million jobs by 2010.
In the government’s Workforce Development Summit last year, it identified nine key employment-generating sectors – all in the services sector – cyberservices, aviation, agribusiness, health services, mining, creative industries, hotels and restaurants, medical tourism, and overseas employment.
“We are grievously concerned that the government has put its entire stakes on the business process outsourcing industry as the road to solve unemployment. While the country enjoys relative labor abundance, the formal industry and services sectors, are using capital intensive rather than labor-intensive processes,” said Edralin.
APL earlier hit the quality of jobs offered in the jobs fairs even as the Department of Labor and Employment organizes the Mega Fair that was set as part of the government’s May 1 celebrations.
“Majority of the jobs offered in the DOLE’s jobs fairs are expectedly service work, from call center agents, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff to marketing and promotion officers and sales staff. The applicants will go there only to find out that the contracts of employment available will mostly be for 4 to 5 months only, without security of tenure,” said Edralin.
Edralin said in less than six months down the road, the contractual workers will be back in the streets or attending more job fairs, looking for work because the jobs offered in such fairs are mere replacements-vacated posts, and not really newly created jobs.
The same NSO survey showed that of the 1.528 million jobs generated in January 2006 – January 2007, 1.47 million or 97% were jobs in the services sector. Industry gained only 96,000 jobs while agriculture lost 51,000 jobs.
Wholesale and retail jobs account for the biggest chunk at 482,000, covering jobs in giant malls to street vendors. The next chunk comes from “household employment” at 309,000, and this includes domestic helpers, family drivers and the like.
APL also called on the Senatorial candidates to bare their specific legislative economic measures to generate jobs for the country’s increasing labor force. The labor center specifically challenged the national candidates to reveal their plans for the completion of agrarian reform, as well as policies for industrialization and investments that would lead to full employment; fiscal and monetary policies that would promote the corresponding growth in the workers’ income; and public sector reform agenda in the light of the rationalization plan to lay off 30 percent of government employees.
“Almost two weeks before the elections, the applicants for the job of the Senator who are leading in the surveys should prove that they deserve the people’s vote, by baring their economic development paradigm to address the lingering jobs crisis. We call on all voters to look at the capacity of these candidates to make laws that will address the unemployment crisis, beyond their popularity and empty promises,” said Edralin.