March 17, 2010
The labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) warned that joblessness awaits the new graduates who will be entering the labor force come April. “Of the estimated half a million graduates this March, more than 90,000 will not be able to find work despite investing four or five years and a fortune in a college education. We challenge the presidentiables to present a jobs policy that will address the grave problem of unemployment in general and youth joblessness in particular,” stated Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.
Magtubo’s figures are a projection of the National Statistics Office’s (NSO) April 2005 unemployment data of 18.5% for graduates. “Despite possessing a shiny new college diploma, graduates are only marginally better off than undergraduates whose unemployment rate is 21%,” he added.
PM meanwhile criticized the latest NSO employment figures for “propagating myths instead of truths.” Magtubo argued that “Unemployment has been kept magically low by removing from the labor force those who have already been discouraged from looking for work and even those who keep on looking for work but have not found any for more than six months. Starting in 2005, by a mere redefinition of terms, one million Filipinos have been taken off from the unemployment rolls and the government can claim that unemployment has come down from the historical average of 10% to the current 7%.”
PM is advocating a short-term program of massive public employment program and a long-term reorientation of economic and trade policy away from liberalization to generate decent jobs. “The present emergency employment program must be made more widespread to employ millions but should also be reformed. People’s organizations not local politicians must administer the public employment program so that it will not be used for patronage and it must promote decent work instead of worsening contractualization. But a strategic jobs policy demands the political will to reverse liberalization, deregulation and privatization, and to uphold domestic industry and agriculture,” Magtubo said.
Magtubo furthered that “The graduates of 2010 are only 12% of the 100 school age kids approximately 14 years ago who have survived the education system. Of these 12 out of 100, seven will take a licensure exam but only three will pass. Of the three, only one will find profession that fits his or her education. The rest will find work that has nothing to do with their college course.”
PM is calling on the youth and the graduates to be critical and vote for candidates who have a concrete program to address unemployment. The party-list group is campaigning on a platform of “Apat na Dapat,” which means regular jobs, decent wages, affordable housing and universal healthcare coverage.