MANILA, Philippines – Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto yesterday assured that the government would step up efforts to address the rising unemployment rate in the country.
He said the government’s Economic Resiliency Plan (ERP) would continue to prioritize emergency employment or livelihood creation and preservation through fast disbursement of the P1.415- trillion budget for 2009.
Through fast disbursement of the budget, Recto said the government would be able to implement infrastructure projects that would create jobs faster and improve the country’s competitiveness.
“To further help minimize the adverse impact of the crisis to the most vulnerable sectors of the labor force, we strongly propose the fast disbursement of the 2009 budget and regular monitoring and reporting of accomplishments of the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program or CLEEP and the commitments of the private sector on employment creation,” Recto said.
He also noted the government, business and labor sectors should “take the current crisis as an opportunity to implement concrete programs that will improve firm-level productivity and intensify trainings and scholarships for the young labor force.”
For retrenched overseas Filipino workers, he also proposed the fast deployment of these workers.
He noted that President Arroyo has signed an executive order to assist workers who will be affected by the global financial crisis.
The National Statistics Office (NSO) reported yesterday that the unemployment rate for January went up to 7.7 percent from 7.4 percent in January 2008. This figure, however, was lower than the January 2006 unemployment rate of 8.1 percent and the January 2007 unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.
This means that there are now 2.855 million jobless Filipinos in January from an estimated 2.675 million in the same month last year.
“The employment generated was not enough to compensate for the bigger number of labor entrants for the period and those who have been unemployed,” Recto said.
On the other hand, the number of employed workers went up by 1.7 percent in January to 34.69 million from 33.69 million last year. This means that 565,000 were added to the labor force. — Iris C. Gonzales, Philippine Star