Breaktime: High unemployment fateBy Conrado R. Banal III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
More than 11 million fine men and women in this country are jobless, according to the latest survey, and since the figure was only more than 10 million at the start of 2013, the number of jobs in this country, instead of increasing, was actually stagnant.
Economists say that about one million people enter the labor force in this country every year, and based on the survey done by SWS last March, or the end of the school year, the increase in the number of jobless in the first three months of 2013 was precisely that—about one million people.
The Palace boys have been mouthing the classic excuse that the problem could not be solved overnight, although nobody really expected the Aquino (Part II) administration to wipe out joblessness in this country during the six-year term of our leader Benigno Simeon (aka BS).
But the question is: What is the administration actually doing about the problem? Aha, according to the Palace boys, the administration remains, ah, er—what was the word again—“committed” to create jobs in tourism, infrastructure and agriculture.
The administration pays close attention to those “three” special sectors. Out of the many different sectors in this country, including manufacturing, which creates the most number of jobs in any country. But the sector is now being battered by an industry called smuggling.
It is all fine. It is just that those more than 11 million jobless people here—which are more than three times the entire population of Singapore—must now miraculously convert the administration’s “commitment” into food on the table.
On infrastructure, the Palace boys pointed at the increase in public works spending of the Aquino (Part II) administration by P9 billion in January and February 2013, as proof of the “commitment.”
They forgot to say that the comparative figure in 2012 was low, as the DPWH held back on a lot of projects, and so the business sector would even suspect that the P9-billion increase was simply an attempt at pre-election spending to boost to the economy.
Anyway, the private sector has even stepped up construction, creating a boom in condo, and commercial (i.e. malls) and office buildings. But it is clear, based on the SWS survey, that the boom hardly created a dent in the unemployment rate.
It only shows that jobs are disappearing in other sectors, particularly manufacturing, battered by the thriving industry called smuggling, which now has even invaded the farm sector with the massive smuggling of rice, poultry and fish products.
Come on, did they say that the Aquino (Part II) administration succeeded in creating more jobs in agriculture?
Whether the administration likes it or not, this country must see a resurgence of the manufacturing sector to create jobs for the 11 million unemployed and, more importantly, the more than 20 million underemployed.
Again, what is the administration doing about the various problems of those struggling companies in manufacturing—such as the power crisis in Mindanao and the impending one in Luzon, or the exceptional upsurge of the industry known as smuggling?
Well, basically, it leaves everything to fate.
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To the guys down here in my barangay, our dear Senator Loren Legarda, running for reelection, owes them an explanation on her expensive condo unit in the posh part of New York City, despite her dismissal of the issue as the handiwork of another senatorial candidate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.
How did she raise the money to purchase the unit, for one, and why did she hide it from us who supported her in politics all this time by forgetting to specify it in her SALN?
Certainly there was something behind the sudden media attention on her condo. Word goes around that the Cayetano camp could be using the issue to buttress his senatorial election, possibly to displace Legarda at the top slot, which should boost Cayetano’s chances to take a shot at the presidency in 2016.
Cayetano has been tailing Legarda as the top senatorial bet in the May 2013 elections, and word is that his staff and campaign machinery are trying hard to unseat Legarda from the top spot in the surveys leading to the elections next week, hoping to use his climb to Numero Uno for his presidential bid in 2016.
Cayetano happens to be a member of the Nationalista Party, whose standard bearer in the last presidential elections was Sen. Manuel Villar, and the other noteworthy contender to the party’s choice for presidential candidate happens to be Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country for 20 years under martial rule.
Bongbong is said to have been pitching for his bid for Malacañang in 2016 during some private functions with close friends and supporters.