Militant labor group says Aquino’s cheap labor policy a failure

By
November 21 2012

“SWS said unemployment increased from 26 to 29 percent.  For KMU, it is more.  The biggest number of the labor force comes from the peasant sector,” Labog said.  “(A) huge numbers of peasants are unemployed,” he added.

By ALEX D. LOPEZ
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) criticized the Aquino government’s cheap labor policy for failing to generate jobs in the country.

Social Weather Station’s August survey revealed that the 29.4 percent unemployment rate is higher than the figures presented by the government, which declared that only counts to 7 percent or roughly 2.8 million Filipinos are unemployed.

Elmer Labog, Chairperson of KMU, in a message sent to davaotoday.com said Malacañang and the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) will always peddle lies in terms of its statistics on labor and employment.

The government, he said, considers one hour work rendered for a week as employment and regard overseas Filipinos as automatically employed.

“Sheer statistics will belie such claims as 4,500 workers leave the country daily to find work abroad,” the militant labor leader said.

“SWS said unemployment increased from 26 to 29 percent.  For KMU, it is more.  The biggest number of the labor force comes from the peasant sector,” Labog said.  “(A) huge numbers of peasants are unemployed,” he added.

KMU’s reaction is in response to the recent survey released by the SWS indicating that unemployment remains high in the third quarter of 2012, increasing to 29.4 percent from the second quarter’s 26.6 percent.

“The Aquino government has relied on foreign investors to generate jobs in the country despite the severe global economic crisis that is causing record-level unemployment even in the U(nited)S(tates) and Europe,” KMU said in a statement posted in its website.

“Filipinos,” the militant group added “may be hopeful of getting jobs this fourth quarter, but these jobs are mostly temporary and low-paying.”

The National Federation of Labor Unions in Southern Mindanao Region (Naflu-SMR) also shared Labog’s view.

In an interview by davaotoday.com, Naflu-SMR chair Joel Virador said an increase in unemployment is a continuing reality in the Philippines, where productivity in the countryside cannot absorb the unemployed with the absence of real industrialization.

“It is imperative for the government to implement the genuine agrarian reform and push for national industrialization,” Virador added.

Early this week, Malacañang announced a downtrend in unemployment in the country based on their official figures.  Palace Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government’s assessment on unemployment is based on the results of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) that showed a downtrend in unemployment.

The national media quoted Valte as saying that the LFS survey “has always been traditionally the benchmark for unemployment.”

Details of SWS survey from August 24 to 27 said that 12 percent of the unemployed were those who resigned from their jobs while another 13 percent said they lost their jobs.  The remaining five percent were those considered as first-time jobseekers.

An increase in joblessness in the women sector was also noted in the survey.  It showed that joblessness in women is now at 42.5 percent from the 36.4 percent in May of this year.  Meanwhile, SWS also showed a slight increase in joblessness among men at 19.3 percent from 18.9 percent.

In terms of age bracket, the SWS survey further revealed a six-point increase or 28.1 percent of Filipinos aging from 35 to 44 years old who are unemployed compared to 54.8 percent or five-point increase among those aged 18 to 24 years old.

KMU said the SWS survey results once again show that the Aquino government’s cheap labor policy is a failure when it comes to generating jobs, though it has been successful in making poverty and hunger worse among workers and their families.

It also exposes the government’s deceitful methodology in ascertaining unemployment in the country, boosting the number of employed persons contrary to reality, the KMU added.

Professor Rene Ofreneo of the University of the Philippines School of Labor and Industrial Relations was quoted by national daily BusinessWorld as saying that the increase in unemployment sounds logical because no major local jobs were created even in the PPP or Public-Private Partnership program.  (Alex D. Lopez/davaotoday.com)

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