11 February 2012
It is not the bad weather but a combination of bad policies that is driving the country’s unemployment rate up, the workers’ group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement, in reaction to Malacanang’s “understandable” description of the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey on unemployment.
“It is really sad to see the unemployment numbers rising but we are more troubled with the fact that after more than three years in office, the Aquino administration has yet to understand the root cause of this chronic problem. And it’s not about the weather,” declared PM chair Renato Magtubo.
The number of unemployed Filipinos, according to the SWS, swelled to more than 12.1 million in 2013. Malacanang, however, meekly "understood" it as an outcome of Yolanda, the Bohol earthquake and the Zamboanga siege.
The group asserted that while climate change is now becoming the biggest threat especially to most vulnerable countries like the Philippines, bad policies remain the biggest obstacle to the country’s development, more so in the midst of worsening climate crisis.
“Trade liberalization both in industry and agriculture, lack of industrial program, and the privatization-led growth model were to blame in this chronic problem of unemployment in the country,” said Magtubo, adding that since the country implemented those programs in the 80’s, “growth had not only been jobless but highly unequal.”
The group pointed out, based on its own review of the country’s development pattern during the past 30 years, it was every clear that growth years never translated into jobs while economic gains benefited only a few families.
“Except for crises years of 1984-85, 1991, 1992 and 1998, the remaining 25 years between 1980 and 2013 were all 'growth years,' the highest rates during the last decade, including the 6.8% in 2012. But the unemployment rate remained flat,”explained Magtubo.
The former partylist representative added that the only period where the unemployment rate in the country fell to single digit was when the government changed employment definitions in 2005, reducing in effect the number of unemployed persons by some 1.4 million.
Magtubo said that unless the Aquino government and the ruling elite change course by reversing those bad policies, they will be punishing not only the present but even the future generation of workers.
More than half of the unemployed, both in the SWS and the NSO surveys, are those in age group 18-24.
He also warned that the unemployment problem is a “ticking time bomb”, a social problem that is due to explode unless addressed decisively by the present government.