Monday, December 19, 2011

Jobs: The Best Gift for the Filipinos

Jobs: The Best Gift for the Filipinos
By: Arnel L. Cadeliña

Labor is the most important asset of the poor hence economists assert that the determinants if a country is rich or poor is by checking mainly the unemployment and the underemployment rate . Ramon (not his real name) has a degree in sociology he earned two years ago. He submitted his resume to more than 60 companies and after several interviews still there were no job offers. He cannot believe the claimed of the government that they created 2.1 million new jobs and that the unemployment in the Philippines hit a four-year low of 6.4 percent. Ramon is now applying as a service crew of a fast food chain and he will be paid by the hour making him an additional member of the more than 4 million underemployed in the country.

Looking closely with the employment figures it is true that unemployment decreased but the quality of jobs they reported asserted that these are low quality jobs that will not help lessen the poverty in the country. Added to that, according to Prof. Benjamin E. Diokno of the UP School of Economics the 500,000 new jobs were in the nature of unpaid work in family-owned businesses.

As a professor who is connected to a school whose vision is to serve the poor, I have seen how poverty crippled a family in our immersion activities. But I came into a conclusion that the basic problem of the poor is not so much lack of employment but the low wages and the underemployment of the parents. Their penchant of unwanted pregnancies linked to their persistent poverty. According to Asian Development Bank the low wages, underemployment and too many mouths to feed of a family reduces growth savings and reduces funds available for investment in productive capacity. This underinvestment will result in a domino effect of reduces in overall economic growth and prospects for poverty reduction.

Source: NSO Labor Statistics, October 2011 (retrieved December 20, 2011)

It is not a surprise then that the Philippines ranked among the highest in terms of unemployment in the ASEAN region.

The best gift then this Christmas and new year is to help somebody to have his/her own job. What then we need to do in order to create more jobs in the country?.

Here are some actions we can consider:

1. In agriculture, buy local fruits, vegetables and meat. We have seen a rapid increase in imports of basic necessity commodities especially from China. Buying and selling of local food is beneficial not only to the producers and buyers but also for the nation as a whole. Local food purchases happen to be cheaper because there is slashing of expenditure on transportation and warehousing. As far as the national economy is concerned, there has always been an impetus to local food markets since it helps to curtail the drainage of cash reserves on account of import payments. All that we wanted to cook for our next meal was right there in our public market. Our local food products are definitely fresher due to their proximity of our farms to our markets. Your buying of our own agriculture products will create more jobs.

2. Help our local and national government in their governance. A weak and inefficient state is unable to efficiently deliver the necessary services to its population as a result of low capacity. Pay your correct taxes and support the police in maintaining peace & order. Your taxes will create more jobs.

3. Petition our president, senators and congressmen to initiate work programs that will employ huge numbers of unemployed to take a minimum wage paying civil service job like cleaning and maintaining schools, nursing homes, roads, and museums among other jobs. To prevent fraud and abuse, the program should be accurately measured and track results, This is what Germany did to avoid the recession. Your petition will influence them to create more jobs.

4. Adopt and implement the 22-Point Labor and Employment Agenda of the Department of Labor and Employment. This is the platform and policy pronouncements on labor and employment over-arching goal:Invest in our country’s top resource, our human resource, to make us more competitive and employable while promoting industrial peace based on social justice.

This is Christmas and those who are gainfully employed should be thankful and those who are still looking, just like Ramon, don't lose hope. The gift is there waiting and the best thing is to never give up: stand up and fight for the right to live a full life even when challenged by uncertainty.

My best wishes always.

Arnel L. Cadeliña

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