DOLE defends GMA job-generation promise

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — CONTRARY to claims of some lawmakers that the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is full of empty promises, the Department of Labor and Employment maintained that the President was able to fulfill her promises, particularly in generating jobs for the Filipinos.

Assistant Secretary Reydaluz Conferido of DOLE has provided the media a sneak peak on President Arroyo’s State-of-the-Nation Address on July 27 concerning the government’s job generation efforts from 2001 to 2009.

According to the data of the labor department, the government was able to generate a total of 8.95 million jobs in the private sector while at least 12 million jobs created from government projects.

Apart from the number of jobs created, the government was able to give at least 7.78 million individuals who have sought the assistance of DOLE directly jobs.

“This only shows that the President was able to fulfill her promise… and whatever type of assessment made by anyone, the DOLE data on job generation can’t be contested,” Conferido said during the weekly Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor)-sponsored Kapihan ng Bayan news forum at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City.

At least five militant congressmen and some senators have already expressed their refusal to join President Arroyo’s final SONA next week. They are claiming the SONA of the President will be full of “lies and delusions.”

The DOLE official during the same Pagcor-sponsored Kapihan ng Bayan, however, admitted that despite the high number of jobs created by the government, the country still has huge number of unemployed individuals and it could be attributed to many factors.

Among the reasons why there is a high unemployment rate in the country are the fast population growth rate, skills mismatch and personal reservations.

He explained even if there are plenty of jobs created by the government, jobseekers usually fail to get the job because their skill doesn’t match the job being offered.

Another is that there are some college graduates who are too “picky” and instead of taking the job offer, they would just wait for other jobs they like.

Labor force survey last January stated that out of the estimated 58.7 million population 15 years old and above about 37.1 million persons or about 63 percent were in the labor force and more than one-half worked in the services sector.

Conferido said that even with the economic crisis, the Philippines still managed to bring down the unemployment rate from 8 percent in 2008 to 7.5 percent in 2009.