April 26, 2009
The oft-repeated line by government and business that job mismatch is the cause of unemployment is a deliberate myth. The truth is that economy mismatch—the failed development model of globalization imposed upon the Philippine economy—is at the root of job losses and joblessness in the country.
Since the start of trade liberalization in the 1980’s and the acceleration of deregulation and privatization in the 1990’s, factories and enterprises have closed shop by an average of 2,000 a year and hundreds of thousands of workers have loss their jobs annually. Furthermore, the positive GNP rates—due principally to OFW remittances—is jobless growth.
The only reason unemployment figures have remained low is through the manipulation of data and promotion of OFW deployment. Meanwhile underemployment has ballooned as former workers and farmers shift to the informal economy of insecure jobs, low pay, no benefits and grave working conditions.
The solution to economy mismatch is reorientation away from export promotion and overseas employment towards strengthening the domestic economy by building up local industry and agriculture that will provide decent work to millions of Filipinos.
Job mismatch is a problem but a secondary one that however cannot be solved through job fairs and retraining programs. The answer to job mismatch is economic planning. It means making the education system serve the needs of development and thus requires a stop to deregulation of education.
National planning must be based on the needs of the domestic economy not the demands of the overseas job market. It is a loss of social capital to invest in training Filipinos so they can serve the economic development of other countries.