Villanueva concerned over rising underemployment rate; Estrada says improved jobless rate good sign for economy
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva expressed concern on Friday over the rising underemployment rate in the country while Senator Jinggoy Estrada noted that the better jobless rate is a good sign for the economy.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country’s unemployment rate eased to 4.2 percent while the underemployment rate grew to 14.4 percent in November 2022.
“The continuous decline of our unemployment rate is a welcome development as we begin the new year. This shows that our hard work is paying off, especially since we have seen the downtrend in unemployment numbers starting August,” Villanueva said in a statement.
“Nevertheless, our work continues, as we welcome the estimated 1.5 million new entrants in the labor force. Especially concerning is the increasing underemployment rate from 6.67 million in October to 7.16 million in November,” added the former chairperson of the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resource development.
With the growth in underemployment, Villanueva is further pushing for a comprehensive National Employment Action Plan.
Last year, he filed Senate Bill No. 129 or the Trabaho Para sa Lahat ng Pilipino (Jobs for All Filipinos) Act.
The panel hearing on the said measure is scheduled on January 24.
“We’re hopeful that through the help of our colleagues as well as our counterparts in the House of Representatives, we can pass it as soon as possible given that no less than President Bongbong Marcos has expressed support on the measure,” Villanueva said.
Meanwhile, Estrada said that the better unemployment rate is a sign that the government may no longer need to provide aid to citizens.
“Sa sitwasyong ganito, matutukan na ng ating gobyerno ang mga kinakailangang mga programa para sa tuloy-tuloy na pagbangon mula sa pandemya at panunumbalik ng normal nating pamumuhay. Senyales rin ito na hindi kakailanganin pang maglaan ng pondo ang gobyerno para pang-ayuda sa ating mga kababayan,” he said in a separate statement.
(In this situation, the government can focus on needed programs for the continuous revival from the pandemic and towards normalcy. This is also a sign that the government may no longer be needed to allot funds for the aid of our citizens.)
Estrada likewise said that the decreasing unemployment rate is a good sign for the economy.
The improving jobless rate, the senator said, proves that many opportunities opened up, including the return of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Kung susuriing maiigi at ayon na rin sa mga datos, ang bilang unemployment rate sa bansa ay bumalik na sa pre-pandemic levels. Magandang senyales ito para sa ating ekonomiya,” he said.
(If we look into it and based on data, the unemployment rate in the country returned to pre-pandemic levels. This is a good sign for our economy.)
“Patunay ito na marami ng nagbukas na oportunidad para makabalik sa trabaho ang ating mga kababayan pati na rin ang panunumbalik ng mga negosyo o ang mga MSMEs na bumubuo sa 99.5% commercial establishments at nagbibigay ng trabaho sa 63% ng ating workforce,” the incumbent Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development chairperson went on.
(This is proof that many opportunities became available for our fellow citizens to return to work. Businesses or MSMEs that make up 99.5 percent of commercial establishments and provide jobs to 63 percent of our workforce also returned.)
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