Barbers: Drop in unemployment rate shows admin’s policies are working

Barbers: Drop in unemployment rate shows admin’s policies working

/ 02:10 PM January 10, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers believes that the decreased unemployment rate recorded in November 2023 is an indication that the current administration’s economic policies are working.

Barbers on Wednesday said that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s economic team is on the right track after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that joblessness in the country eased to 3.6 percent, down from 4.2 percent in October 2023.

This result is the lowest unemployment rate that the country has registered in 18 years.


“The President and his economic team and their allies in Congress, principally the House of Representatives, are on the right track. The newest data indicated that the economy has created more than 200,000 jobs,” he said.


Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda also said that the lower unemployment rate shows the Marcos administration’s “commitment to providing opportunities for decent livelihood for all.”

“Jobs growth was buoyed in large part by agriculture (1.24 million more jobs), and fishing and aquaculture (305 thousand), sectors where progress would also lead to lower food and overall prices. President Marcos has focused intently on these sectors as fundamental to addressing both food prices and rural poverty,” Salceda said in a separate statement.

“Growth in sectors such as construction and transportation also indicate higher demand for housing and consumer goods – always positive signs for any economy,” he added.

READ: Marcos Jr. says unemployment rate drop shows admin’s efforts to create jobs

However, Barbers said the government could do more if the 1987 Constitution was amended to remove restrictive economic provisions.

Last December, the House leadership admitted that they are looking at old proposals pushing for charter change as these would allow more foreign investments to enter the Philippines.


“The drop in unemployment gives more impetus to the House initiative to relax the ‘restrictive’ economic provisions of the Constitution so the country can attract more foreign investments. More foreign investments will mean more jobs, more economic activities, and more income for our people,” he said.

“(The Charter’s economic provisions restrict foreign capital inflow) because they contain a cap on foreign ownership and investment that cannot be lifted or amended by any law. That’s why constitutional amendments focused on the economic provisions are urgently needed,” he added.

Not yet enough

Salceda, an economist by profession, said that while the good news is a cause for celebration, the government should not be content with this development.

“While I celebrate this news, we must not rest on our laurels. We must continue to encourage investments in manufacturing, which lost some 1.39 million jobs year-on-year. Durable manufacturing jobs come from a strong industrial base, which can only be built through a steady stream of investments, availability of competitively-priced inputs such as lower power cost, and continued innovation among the country’s entrepreneurs,” Salceda said.

“We need a strong manufacturing sector because it is what will add value to our agricultural production, and it provides opportunities accessible to workers of all education levels. It is what has created strong middle classes in developed countries,” he added.

READ: Bongbong Marcos says more work still needed to improve employment rates

The Albay lawmaker said that the reforms being pushed by the House under Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, if fulfilled, would generate more jobs.

“We also remain committed to further economic liberalization through amending the economic provisions of the Constitution, to free up constraints to more foreign capital and know-how,” he said.

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“What will make this economy resilient is the rise of a strong, stable, and prosperous middle class. Decent employment is at the heart of this. We in the President’s coalition are committed to this goal,” he added.

TAGS: Robert Ace Barbers, unemployment rate

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