Salceda: Underemployment in PH ‘worrisome’
MANILA, Philippines — While the January unemployment figures showed a lower rate, House tax chief and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda on Monday said the country still needed “higher-quality jobs, as underemployment numbers remain worrisome.”
Salceda said underemployment went up to 14.9 percent in January this year from 14.7 percent in December last year.
“It could mean workers are simply taking whatever jobs are available, no matter how low-paying they are,” he said in a statement.
The figures, according to him, could also mean that wages are simply no longer enough to meet the needs of more Filipinos.
“It could also mean that government income support does not meet the needs of working households, hence, the search for secondary employment,” he said.
The lawmaker said that while the easing of quarantine restrictions has created new jobs, most new businesses were still “on test-drive mode, preferring to wait and see with hiring rather than onboard more employees only to see restrictions imposed again.”
Salceda also pointed out the “seemingly arbitrary” designation of alert levels to provinces.
He noted that Albay province was still under alert level 2 despite having zero COVID-19 cases and low hospital utilization rates.
“You want the alert level system to be proportional to the actual risks so that people are not unnecessarily constrained from going about their business. We need to fix the alert level system if we want to protect jobs,” he said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported last week that the country’s unemployment rate declined from 6.6 percent in December last year to 6.4 percent in January 2022.