Thursday, May 26, 2011

PM calls for public employment program in response to unemployment

Press Release
May 26, 2011

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called on the government to create a public employment program in response to worsening unemployment under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. “Instead of flying off to Thailand to entice investors for PPP projects, PNoy should stay in the country and create an aggressive public employment program that will create millions of jobs. The PPP that workers want is not Public-Private Partnership but Programang Patrabaho para sa Pilipino,” asserted Renato Magtubo, PM national chair.

The recent SWS survey showed that an additional one million Filipinos loss their jobs since November. This is in addition to more than a million more unemployed Filipinos since President Aquino took office. Unemployment was 20.5% when the Aquino administration started then jumped to 23.5% last November and further to 27.2% as of March.

“The public employment program should not be limited to street cleaning and whitewashing walls but must include restoring the environment and building housing for the poor aside from the usual public works projects. Given the sorry state of the environment and the backlog in public housing, just these two sectors are significant enough to provide millions of jobs for a start,” Magtubo stated. Aside from a public employment program, PM is calling on the government to discourage retrenchments and curb contractualization as immediate steps and then shift to a strategic policy of strengthening the local economy to generate jobs.

“The SWS survey showed that among the factors contributing to increased unemployment was contractualization and layoffs. The decision of the Labor Department and the Office of the President allowing Philippine Airlines to terminate and outsource some 3,000 jobs is sending the wrong signal to employers that it is ok for them to cut regular jobs then hire contractual workers,” Magtubo explained.

He added that “PNoy must end endo. He must stop contractualization. He must make a favorable decision on the motion for reconsideration of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association against the outsourcing scheme.” Endo is short for end of contract and a popular term for contractual workers losing their jobs before the maximum six-month probationary period before they are mandated to become regular employees.

“However the strategic solution to the unemployment and underemployment problem is to strengthen the local economy instead of weakening it by liberalization, privatization and deregulation. The worse controversy for the IMF is not the sex scandal of its former head but the collapse of domestic economies such as ours because of the bitter pill it has prescribed,” Magtubo argued.

He added that “Supporting the local economy means policies to promote domestic agriculture—among them agrarian reform—and national industrialization. Filipinos should have decent regular jobs in our country instead of being forced to seek greener pastures abroad.”

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