Gov’t urged to take on ‘aggressive role’ in providing jobs amid economic plunge
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday urged the government to take a more aggressive role in providing jobs for unemployed Filipinos and make use of public employment programs (PEPs) amid plunging economy.
“Parehong bigyan ng salbabida ang mga manggagawa at pribadong kumpanya. Gobyerno na mismo ang dapat magbigay ng trabaho sa mga Pilipino,” said Hontiveros in a statement.
(Give both workers and private companies a lifeline. The government itself should provide employment to Filipinos.)
Hontiveros said that jobs and income support should be provided to Filipinos through PEPs to help cushion the effect of income loss and escalating prices of goods and services due to the pandemic.
“Hindi na lang dapat kagyat na ayuda ang kailangan, kundi kasabay nito ay magkaroon din ng isang malawakang trabaho sa pamamagitan ng PEP o di kaya employment guarantee schemes para patuloy na may sweldo na pwedeng gastusin,” said Hontiveros.
(Not only urgent assistance is needed, we also need to provide jobs through PEP or employment guarantee schemes to provide them with a continuous salary they can spend.)
“Pwedeng pagsimulan ang Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers o TUPAD ng Department of Labor and Employment. Palawakin pa ang sampung araw na temporary wage employment para mas marami pa itong matulungan,” she added.
(We could start Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers o TUPAD ng Department of Labor and Employment by the Department of Labor and Employment, extending the ten-day temporary wage employment to help more people.)
Hontiveros explained that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, aggressive PEPs apart from the conventional public works, can be utilized as a “strategy for recovery” to augment front line services essential to pandemic response in communities.
“We can mobilize more workers to assist in contact tracing, provide support to persons vulnerable to COVID-19, such as the elderly, persons with disabilities (PWDs) or chronic health problems, those who are sick at home or recovering, and persons in quarantine… as well as strengthening essential services such as waste collection, public sanitation and other facilities,” said Hontiveros.
The senator cited other countries like South Africa, India, and Argentina where minimum wage jobs are guaranteed for the unemployed with required hours of work and specific time frame.
Hontiveros said that aside from jobs, PEPs will also create productive assets.
“Workers are the drivers of our economy. Madidiskaril ang ating byahe patungo sa pagbangon ng ekonomiya kung hindi tayo magbibigay ng oportunidad sa mga nawalan ng trabaho (our journey towards economic recovery will be derailed if we do not provide opportunities for the unemployed),” she emphasized.
The senator’s statement comes as the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) released its report on the country’s economic performance for 2020, showing a deep contraction of 9.5%.
One of the main factors for this sharp decline in GDP is the -5.7 decline in household consumption.
The labor department also reported over 5 million displaced workers last year, with mass layoffs having occurred more during the fourth quarter.
“Kailangang maibalik ang nawalang kapasidad sa konsumo ng pamilyang Pilipino, at magagawa lang ito kapag may trabaho ang isa o dalawa sa mga miyembro nito. Tayo ay nagtatrabaho para sa taumbayan, ngayong nawalan sila ng kabuhayan, tayo naman ang magbigay nito sa kanila,” said Hontiveros.
(The lost capacity of the Filipino family to consume needs to be restored, and this can only be done when one or two of its members have jobs. We work for the people, now that they have lost their livelihood, it is our turn to provide for them.)
“Government as an employer & income provider must help the country navigate along an economic roadmap,” she concluded. Zac Sarao, Trainee
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