MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III did not announce any wage hike on Labor Day but said the government is addressing the country’s employment problem.
“Ang pinakamahalagang yaman ng Pilipinas ay ang Pilipino.. [Kaya] sa simula pa lang po ng ating panunungkulan tinukoy na natin ang mga tunay na problema upang makapaglatag ng tamang solusyon,” Aquino said during his speech at the Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. Compound in Laguna.
Before, he said, a lot of job openings could not be filled because of skills mismatch.
So in 2011, the Department of Labor and Employment, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education, and Technical Skills and Development Authority coordinated with businessmen to determine which skills are in demand, he said.
“Wala po tayong sinayang na oras sa paglalatag ng mga hakbang upang masiguro (na) ang mga bakanteng trabaho sa merkado ay pupunuan ng mga graduate nating may sapat na pagsasanay,” he said.
He also said they tried to give additional skills to workers whose professions are not in demand anymore, citing the influx of nurses.
The President also listed as an accomplishment the growing electronics and semiconductor industry.
“Patuloy nga po ang pagtaas ng employment numbers ng electronics industry nitong mga nagdaang taon. At hindi lang po ang inyong mga empleyado ang nakikinabang dito. Dahil sa multiplier effect, nabigyan ng indirect jobs ang napakarami pa nating mga kababayan,” he said,
“Matibay po ang paninindigan ng inyong pambansang pamahalaan na ipagpatuloy ang magandang takbo sa inyo pong sektor,” he added.
Aside from this, he also said the number of Filipinos below the poverty line decreased by three percentage points or 2.5 million Filipinos from the first semester of 2012 to 2013.
“Ibig sabihin, halos dalawa’t kalahating milyong Juan o Juana dela Cruz ang nasa lampas na ng poverty line. At ngayong higit pang nagbubunga ang mga repormang ipinatupad at ipinapatupad natin, tiyak na dadami pa ang mamamayang mabibigyan natin ng mas komportableng pamumuhay,” he said.
Groups like the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, however, gave Aquino a failing grade because of the country’s unemployment rate, which at 7.5 percent is considered to be the highest in Southeast Asia.
Based on the latest labor force survey (LFS) released by the National Statistics Office last January, the jobless rate in the Philippines stood at 7.5 percent, up from 7.1 percent reported a year earlier.
The 7.5 percent translates to 2.969 million jobless Filipinos, from 2.776 million the year before. (MNS)