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Govt job-generation programs inadequate - IBON

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IbArrA



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PostSubject: Govt job-generation programs inadequate - IBON Govt job-generation programs inadequate - IBON EmptyFri May 01, 2009 10:57 am

MANILA, Philippines - The job crisis is so severe government cannot solve it with its job-creation program and "buck-passing," militant think tank IBON Foundation said Friday.

IBON said that while government continues to redeploy overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs, it has passed to workers the burden of the economic crisis.

"Even if the program does create the projected 800,000 jobs this year, it still cannot absorb the more than 900,000 new labor force entrants, on top of the roughly 11,600 permanently retrenched and 38,800 temporarily laid off workers plus the 12,000 displaced OFWs since October 2008 when the global crisis imploded," it said on its Web site.

It was referring to government's Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP), which it said does not veer away from government’s approach in generating jobs.

The group added part of the emergency package is still providing assistance on re-deployment of affected OFWs and additional trainings for skills upgrading and retooling.

Worse, IBON said government and big businesses are trying to pass the burden of adjusting to the crisis on workers through wage and benefit cuts and layoffs.

"Under the administration’s Economic Resiliency Plan (ERP), the Department of Labor is insidiously pushing for flexible work schemes like rotated force leaves and shortened work shifts supposedly as a response to the global crisis," IBON said.

IBON said the situation of Filipino workers is already seen to be at its worst today due to record high joblessness and widespread lay-offs amid the global crisis.

As such, it said, "more radical reforms are needed beyond token government measures."

IBON said the average real employment rate of over 11 percent from 2001 up to the first quarter of 2009 is the worst in Philippine history and is seen to even worsen due to the crisis.

Workers in the manufacturing sector are apparently the hardest hit, as the Philippine exports industry is more vulnerable due to its dependence on the US markets, it added.

"Job losses seem most severe in this sector, which reduced 122,000 jobs from 2008 on top of the 137,000 manufacturing jobs already from the year before," it said.

The labor sector and the economy urgently need aggressive reforms and programs, it said.

These reforms include measures that would yield immediate benefits such as increasing public spending for social services, removing the Value-added Tax (VAT) on oil products, and freeing public resources by discontinuing debt payments.

Government should also be in the forefront of defending Filipinos’ jobs, which should involve implementing programs that will stop flexibility schemes and other work measures that threaten job security.

Filipino producers should also be given a wide range of government support, including greater and cheaper access to financing, technology, raw materials and infrastructure.

The domestic market can be oriented towards giving greater opportunities for Filipino industries even as foreign markets are actively sought.

Also, IBON said government can improve its procedures, tax benefits and other incentives for Filipino businesses.

"Government’s elite-biased and free-market oriented policies, which have kept the Philippine economy backward, should be also be drastically reformed. At the minimum, there should be an overhaul of reckless trade and investment liberalization policies that have worked against local industries and the welfare of Filipino workers," it said.
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