MANILA, May 2 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang on Thursday attributed the rise in the number of jobless Filipinos during the first three months this year to “seasonal” types of jobs during the past holidays.
“May paliwanag po diyan ang mga ekonomista… Normally, marami pong temporary jobs for December. Alam po natin na panahon po iyan ng ka-Paskuhan kaya marami po tayong nakukuhang seasonal jobs,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said at a press briefing.
A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, released to the media Thursday, showed that unemployment rate in the country has risen to 25.4 percent, which is equivalent to 11.1 million jobless Filipinos.
This was despite the 6.6-percent growth in the Philippine economy last year, driven by the services, trade, real estate and construction sectors.
Based on previous SWS polls, unemployment rate always rose every first quarter during President Benigno Aquino III’s almost three years in office. The highest unemployment rate under Aquino’s presidency was recorded from January to March last year.
‘Areas of emphasis’
Labor leader Wilson Hortaleza of the group Partido Manggagawa said the latest figures on joblessness show that the country’s problem is “chronic unemployment” and not just job mismatch as the government claims.
Lacierda, however, said the Aquino administration is already working to generate more jobs in three specific sectors: tourism, agriculture and infrastructure.
“We are creating jobs in areas where we can generate more employment,” he said.
Lacierda said the government, through the Department of Tourism, is taking steps to translate the increase in tourist arrivals to more jobs for Filipinos.
“Sa tourism, dumami po ang ating mga bisita sa Pilipinas kaya nakakatulong po iyan sa ating ekonomiya. One tourist arrival is equivalent to one job,” he said.
Lacierda said the administration will continue to pour more funds to infrastructure projects, which can also generate jobs. (MNS)