NUMBER OF JOBLESS IN PH UP BY 300,000 

More Filipinos are pessimistic that they will find jobs next year, according to the Social Weather Station’s latest survey. This emerged as the SWS released its latest unemployment survey that showed that the number of jobless Filipinos went up by about 300,000 individuals. The poll, conducted from June 27 to 30, said net optimism on job availability declined from +13 in March to +3 in June, its lowest level since May 2012. Of the respondents, 28 percent believed that the number of jobs would decrease while 29 percent said there would be no change in the number of available jobs. On the other hand, 32 percent said that they expect more jobs to be available in the next 12 months. * READ MORE...

ALSO: PH has highest Asean unemployment rate —ILO report  

The Philippines has the highest unemployment rate among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), according to a report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) published in 2014. The Philippines registered an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent as of 2013, according to the Global Employment Trends. Ranking just above Philippines is Indonesia with 6 percent, the study found. Neighboring Asean countries Brunei has 3.7 percent, Burma, 3.5 percent); Malaysia, 3.2 percent; and Singapore, 3.1 percent. The countries with the lowest unemployment rates are Vietnam, 1.9 percent; Laos, 1.4 percent; Thailand, 0.8 percent); and Cambodia, 0.3 percent. “Almost 202 million people were unemployed in 2013 around the world, an increase of almost 5 million compared with the year before,” the ILO said in the executive summary of its report published January 2014.  “This reflects the fact that employment is not expanding sufficiently fast to keep up with the growing labor force,” it said. On the globally unemployment rate ranking, Philippines is just below Brazil (6.6 percent), Canada (7.1 percent), and Argentina (7.3 percent). The Philippines is doing better compared to Great Britain and United States which both have an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. Among the countries with the highest unemployment rates are Egypt (12.7 percent), Greece (27.6 percent), and Spain (27.6 percent). The countries with the lowest unemployment rates are Cambodia, Qatar (0.6 percent), Thailand, and Rwanda (0.6 percent). Philippine unemployment rate since 2005 has remained around the 7-8 percent range. THIS WAS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: ‘Even 7.5% growth will not create enough jobs’ - NEDA 

Unemployment is bound to persist even if the economy proves resilient enough to hit the highest target growth rate this year, given the huge number of jobless adults in the country, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Tuesday. NEDA Director-General Arsenio Balisacan told the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) at a Senate briefing on the 2015 National Expenditure Program (NEP) that the government’s 2014 growth target range of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent can only generate 1.1 million new jobs.

This number appears too little to make a dent on the unemployment rate. A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in June this year found that there were about 11.8 million unemployed adults in the country, representing about 25.9 percent of the population, up from the 25.7 percent recorded in the first quarter of the year. But Balisacan, who is also the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary of the Cabinet of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, said the unemployment rate is expected to ease when the government resumes implementation of its projects in infrastructure, manufacturing, agri-business and other areas with high employment potential. The agriculture sector alone covers one-third of the country’s labor force. Based on data provided by NEDA, however, growth in the agriculture sector for the first quarter of 2014 was less than 1 percent.

Balisacan attributed the dismal performance of this sector to disasters that hit the country in the last quarter of 2013, including Super Typhoon Yolanda, which devastated the Central Visayas. Senate President Franklin Drilon expressed alarmed over the poor performance of the agriculture sector. “I’m really concerned that the agriculture sector is only expanding at the rate of less than 1 percent,” Drilon said. He noted that having “two heads” at the Agriculture department did not make a difference in the sector’s performance. Drilon was referring to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Francis Pangilinan, who was recently appointed as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization. Besides slow growth in the agriculture sector, the Senate president also raised concern about underspending by the government in 2014 which he said, if not addressed, could further be aggravated by the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). “For the first quarter of 2014, growth in the gross domestic product is only 5.7 percent, which is lower than the 7.7 percent growth rate we achieved in the same period in 2013,” Drilon said.* READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace won’t sack Abaya

Malacañang rejected yesterday calls for the replacement of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya despite a series of accidents and breakdowns involving the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3). “I would say that President Aquino maintains his trust and confidence in the capability of Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC),” Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. Coloma said the utmost concern of the government is the safety of all passengers using the MRT-3 and the Light Rail Transit in Metro Manila, where half a million people ride every day. He said the DOTC will come out tomorrow with results of the investigation on the MRT-3 accident last Wednesday. Sen. Francis Escudero reiterated yesterday the need to review the management issues involving the MRT-3. Escudero noted that MRT-3 is owned by MRT Holdings, which has two other subsidiaries handling the rail line’s security and advertising.

Escudero noted that the government has bid out the management contract through the DOTC. The government committed 15 percent returns on the investment but 80 percent of the economic interest of the MRT Holdings are now under the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). In an interview over radio dzBB, Escudero criticized Abaya for the DOTC’s failure to address the maintenance issues prior to the train accident. “I am surprised by Secretary Abaya’s statement that he is taking full responsibility (over the MRT-3 train mishap). So what? We should talk about the safety of the passengers of the MRT-3,” the senator said. Escudero noted that MRT is a public utility and it is the responsibility of the state to ensure the safety of the commuting public. “I think his performance should be reviewed because the DOTC’s performance is dismal under the current administration,” Escudero said, noting that P15-billion projects under the DOTC were not implemented in 2013. * READ MORE...

ALSO Philstar Opinion: Abaya’s arrogance   

Commuters are angry and disgusted at Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya’s arrogant statement that riding the metro rail transit is a “personal decision,” and that he will not go out of his way to convince people to ride since this is a free country anyway. Abaya – who has now earned the moniker “Jun pAbaya” – issued the statement after an MRT train crashed through a barrier at the Taft Avenue station, causing heavy traffic and leaving more than 30 people injured.

Abaya’s statement is snooty and totally indifferent to the plight of the riding public because it sounded like Abaya was telling victims that it was their fault. Not surprisingly, a major labor group condemned Abaya’s statement saying thousands of minimum wage commuters take the MRT trains to and from work simply because they have no choice.

Last Sunday, northbound passengers told us their hearts skipped a beat when their train suddenly lurched to a halt while approaching the Buendia station, recalling the Taft Avenue accident with horror where another train was sent to push the stalled train forward – causing it to overshoot the tracks and plunge headlong towards the barriers.

Philtrak president Francis Yuseco wrote Spy Bits saying the incidents involving the MRT trains were “truly sad and tragic, but as we forewarned and predicted 25 years ago, derailing of the EDSA MRT on account of the inherent structural financial and operational imbalances in favor of the importing entities would happen sooner or later. If we had built an at-grade Philtrak Rapid Transit (PRT) along EDSA in 1989, all these financial, operational and maintenance tragedies could have been avoided. As we have been repeatedly imploring ever since, it is never too late to change all these elevated MRTs/LRTs to a series of elevated and at-grade PRT at a fraction of the cost and without any subsidies from our taxpayers.” * CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Number of jobless up by 300,000

MANILA, AUGUST 25, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Aries Joseph Hegina, Kristine Angeli Sabillo - More Filipinos are pessimistic that they will find jobs next year, according to the Social Weather Station’s latest survey.

This emerged as the SWS released its latest unemployment survey that showed that the number of jobless Filipinos went up by about 300,000 individuals.

The poll, conducted from June 27 to 30, said net optimism on job availability declined from +13 in March to +3 in June, its lowest level since May 2012.

Of the respondents, 28 percent believed that the number of jobs would decrease while 29 percent said there would be no change in the number of available jobs.

On the other hand, 32 percent said that they expect more jobs to be available in the next 12 months.



* More jobless

The survey also reported a slight increase from a joblessness rate of 25.7 (11.5 million individuals) percent in March to 25.9 percent (11.8 million) in June.

SWS, which interviewed 1,200 Filipinos aged 18 years and above, defines joblessness based on two factors: having no job at the present and looking for a job. This definition excludes housewives, retirees, students and persons without disabilities who are not seeking employment.

Of those who said they were jobless, two percent said they were laid off, six percent had contracts that were not renewed, one percent terminated because their company closed, 13 percent voluntarily left and four percent “never worked before.”

While the number of jobless men decreased from 16.5 percent to 14.7 percent, women without jobs increased from 37.8 percent to 39.9 percent.

The current figure is nearing the highest joblessness rate for women recorded in August 2012, which is 42.5%.

On the other hand, more men were employed during the second quarter, as evidenced by a 1.8% dip in the unemployment rate or 14.7%. The recorded figure was the lowest since the 14.3% unemployment rate for men recorded in June 2011.

Youth without jobs

Among the age groups, joblessness among young Filipinos aged 18 to 24 reached a record-high of 63 percent, from 43 percent in March. The last time it reached that level was in June 2008.

Joblessness also increased among those 25 to 34 years old, from 31 percent in March to 35 percent in June.

However, more people within the age group of 35 to 54 years old said they now had jobs. Those aged 45 and older, retained its joblessness rate of 17 percent.

May 1st, 2014 ILO REPORT

PH has highest Asean unemployment rate —ILO report By Matikas Santos |INQUIRER.net12:10 pm | Thursday, May 1st, 2014 615 76 2 4014 3


"WHAT HAPPENED?" AQUINO ASKED. (dah?!)

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has the highest unemployment rate among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), according to a report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) published in 2014.

The Philippines registered an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent as of 2013, according to the Global Employment Trends. Ranking just above Philippines is Indonesia with 6 percent, the study found. Neighboring Asean countries Brunei has 3.7 percent, Burma, 3.5 percent); Malaysia, 3.2 percent; and Singapore, 3.1 percent.

The countries with the lowest unemployment rates are Vietnam, 1.9 percent; Laos, 1.4 percent; Thailand, 0.8 percent); and Cambodia, 0.3 percent. “Almost 202 million people were unemployed in 2013 around the world, an increase of almost 5 million compared with the year before,” the ILO said in the executive summary of its report published January 2014.

 “This reflects the fact that employment is not expanding sufficiently fast to keep up with the growing labor force,” it said. On the globally unemployment rate ranking, Philippines is just below Brazil (6.6 percent), Canada (7.1 percent), and Argentina (7.3 percent).

The Philippines is doing better compared to Great Britain and United States which both have an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. Among the countries with the highest unemployment rates are Egypt (12.7 percent), Greece (27.6 percent), and Spain (27.6 percent).

The countries with the lowest unemployment rates are Cambodia, Qatar (0.6 percent), Thailand, and Rwanda (0.6 percent). Philippine unemployment rate since 2005 has remained around the 7-8 percent range.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘Even 7.5% growth will not create enough jobs’ August 19, 2014 11:20 pm by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA REPORTER MANILA TIMES



Unemployment is bound to persist even if the economy proves resilient enough to hit the highest target growth rate this year, given the huge number of jobless adults in the country, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Tuesday.

NEDA Director-General Arsenio Balisacan told the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) at a Senate briefing on the 2015 National Expenditure Program (NEP) that the government’s 2014 growth target range of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent can only generate 1.1 million new jobs.

This number appears too little to make a dent on the unemployment rate.

A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in June this year found that there were about 11.8 million unemployed adults in the country, representing about 25.9 percent of the population, up from the 25.7 percent recorded in the first quarter of the year.

But Balisacan, who is also the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary of the Cabinet of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, said the unemployment rate is expected to ease when the government resumes implementation of its projects in infrastructure, manufacturing, agri-business and other areas with high employment potential.

The agriculture sector alone covers one-third of the country’s labor force. Based on data provided by NEDA, however, growth in the agriculture sector for the first quarter of 2014 was less than 1 percent.

Balisacan attributed the dismal performance of this sector to disasters that hit the country in the last quarter of 2013, including Super Typhoon Yolanda, which devastated the Central Visayas.

Senate President Franklin Drilon expressed alarmed over the poor performance of the agriculture sector.
“I’m really concerned that the agriculture sector is only expanding at the rate of less than 1 percent,” Drilon said.

He noted that having “two heads” at the Agriculture department did not make a difference in the sector’s performance.

Drilon was referring to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Francis Pangilinan, who was recently appointed as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.

Besides slow growth in the agriculture sector, the Senate president also raised concern about underspending by the government in 2014 which he said, if not addressed, could further be aggravated by the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

“For the first quarter of 2014, growth in the gross domestic product is only 5.7 percent, which is lower than the 7.7 percent growth rate we achieved in the same period in 2013,” Drilon said.

* He added that a drop in government spending was ref lected in the decline in government consumption for the first quarter of this year, which reached only 2 percent, way below the 10 percent recorded for the same period last year.

“Members of the bureaucracy now have apprehension about taking the initiative because they may face charges stemming from the DAP decision [by the Supreme Court]. Whether you like it or not, the SC decision on the DAP had a chilling effect on the government expenditure program,” Drilon said. The court declared the disbursement program unconstitutional.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said a slowdown was seen in the first quarter of the year, although he added that the government is now catching up and is expected to recover during the remaining months of 2014.

Abad added that the drop in spending was mainly due to the calamities that hit the country, preventing the government from implementing various approved projects in the devastated areas.

SuperTyphoon Yolanda alone, he said, affected 44 provinces and the government has not been able to implement projects in these areas.

But Abad added, the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015 will intensify the government’s drive to achieve inclusive and sustained economic growth.

”Certainly our work is not yet done,” he said, adding that sustaining economic growth to make it truly felt by the people is one of the two major challenges that the Aquino Administration aims to address in its two remaining years.

“The second challenge is how [to] sustain and intensify the reforms we have already rolled out,” Abad said.

The Budget chief added that remarkable growth must translate into real and tangible benefits for the people, especially the poor.

”We have to ensure that public funds go not only to our priority programs for poverty reduction and economic expansion but also to priority localities where the poor are and where we must create more opportunities,” Abad said. WITH PNA

FROM PHILSTAR

Palace won’t sack Abaya By Delon Porcalla, Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 18, 2014 - 12:00am 14 119 googleplus0 0


ABAYA

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang rejected yesterday calls for the replacement of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya despite a series of accidents and breakdowns involving the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).

“I would say that President Aquino maintains his trust and confidence in the capability of Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC),” Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

Coloma said the utmost concern of the government is the safety of all passengers using the MRT-3 and the Light Rail Transit in Metro Manila, where half a million people ride every day.

He said the DOTC will come out tomorrow with results of the investigation on the MRT-3 accident last Wednesday.

Sen. Francis Escudero reiterated yesterday the need to review the management issues involving the MRT-3.

Escudero noted that MRT-3 is owned by MRT Holdings, which has two other subsidiaries handling the rail line’s security and advertising.

Escudero noted that the government has bid out the management contract through the DOTC.

The government committed 15 percent returns on the investment but 80 percent of the economic interest of the MRT Holdings are now under the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

In an interview over radio dzBB, Escudero criticized Abaya for the DOTC’s failure to address the maintenance issues prior to the train accident.

“I am surprised by Secretary Abaya’s statement that he is taking full responsibility (over the MRT-3 train mishap). So what? We should talk about the safety of the passengers of the MRT-3,” the senator said.

Escudero noted that MRT is a public utility and it is the responsibility of the state to ensure the safety of the commuting public.

“I think his performance should be reviewed because the DOTC’s performance is dismal under the current administration,” Escudero said, noting that P15-billion projects under the DOTC were not implemented in 2013.

* The amount was eventually taken out by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and lumped along with the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Escudero expressed concern that there have been legal obstacles involved in management issues of the MRT-3.

He added the delay in the procurement of three to four new train coaches was due to conflicts within the organization.

Escudero said the government should buy the MRT anew then privatize it again to allow government to take full control of operations.

He slammed MRT Holdings and the DOTC for alleged failure to settle their differences over management issues, which may have led to train maintenance problems.

“The DOTC has the lowest absorptive capacity in all of the government agencies,” Escudero lamented.

Abaya’s arrogance SPYBITS By Babe G. Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 19, 2014 - 12:00am 2 12 googleplus0 0


Babe G. Romualdez

Commuters are angry and disgusted at Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya’s arrogant statement that riding the metro rail transit is a “personal decision,” and that he will not go out of his way to convince people to ride since this is a free country anyway.

Abaya – who has now earned the moniker “Jun pAbaya” – issued the statement after an MRT train crashed through a barrier at the Taft Avenue station, causing heavy traffic and leaving more than 30 people injured.

Abaya’s statement is snooty and totally indifferent to the plight of the riding public because it sounded like Abaya was telling victims that it was their fault.

Not surprisingly, a major labor group condemned Abaya’s statement saying thousands of minimum wage commuters take the MRT trains to and from work simply because they have no choice.

Last Sunday, northbound passengers told us their hearts skipped a beat when their train suddenly lurched to a halt while approaching the Buendia station, recalling the Taft Avenue accident with horror where another train was sent to push the stalled train forward – causing it to overshoot the tracks and plunge headlong towards the barriers.


PHILSTAR NEWS PHOTO: MMDA workers remove the derailed MRT coach in Pasay City Tuesday night as MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino looks on. BERNARDO BATUIGAS

Philtrak president Francis Yuseco wrote Spy Bits saying the incidents involving the MRT trains were “truly sad and tragic, but as we forewarned and predicted 25 years ago, derailing of the EDSA MRT on account of the inherent structural financial and operational imbalances in favor of the importing entities would happen sooner or later. If we had built an at-grade Philtrak Rapid Transit (PRT) along EDSA in 1989, all these financial, operational and maintenance tragedies could have been avoided. As we have been repeatedly imploring ever since, it is never too late to change all these elevated MRTs/LRTs to a series of elevated and at-grade PRT at a fraction of the cost and without any subsidies from our taxpayers.”

* Francis has long been suggesting a rapid bus transit scheme to solve the perennial problem of traffic congestion along EDSA, but unfortunately, his proposal has fallen on deaf ears.

Everyone knows the MRT trains are not in very good condition, and that the maintenance has been poor, with allegations that daily upkeep has been kept at a minimum (like cleaning up the coaches) to keep down costs. In fact, there were already previous warnings that the rail system was showing signs of metal fatigue, with experts calling for upgrades in the computer system to avoid glitches that could prove to be risky and dangerous.

Abaya should heed the call of labor groups and Netizens calling for his resignation because of his tendency to make too many comments that are absolutely insensitive to the commuters who already have to endure the daily grind. Just like the MRT trains, the DOTC Secretary is an accident waiting to happen.

Chaos at the docks

Many who watched the Senate hearing regarding the problem of port congestion at the docks are growing impatient at hearing the same old refrain about the need to study the situation etc. before actual actions and solutions can be implemented to unclog the ports.

Meanwhile, numerous international shipping lines and traders continue to complain about tremendous financial costs – “bleeding” as one of them put it – owing to the inability of the government to expeditiously and pro-actively address the alarming port congestion at the international ports in South Harbor and the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT). Clearly, the problem is escalating and could reach national emergency proportions according to stakeholders.

Big and small businessmen, importers, agents, forwarding companies, trucking companies and port users are seriously displeased about the long queues at the said ports, adversely affecting the logistics chain and the cost of doing business in this country. In recent months, government agencies and advocacy groups have recommended shifting of cargoes to Batangas and Subic. In fact, Malacañang just signed an executive order allowing hefty discounts to berthing fees at the Batangas port as an incentive for shipping lines.

Batangas and Subic may help provide a solution to the congestion – provided that the imbalance of trade between import and export, inland road network, efficient trucking services and overall logistics cost, among others, are sufficiently addressed, an insider explained.

But while a lot of attention has been given to diverting cargoes to these provincial ports, the option of at least diverting a portion to Manila North Harbor – a government-owned port facility at nearby Tondo – should be kept in order to quickly decongest the two international ports. The Manila North Harbor port has more than adequate berthing, container yard and truck parking areas, yet ironically it still enjoys surplus areas and capacities that are allowed for the use of domestic shipping lines only.

The nearby government-owned port facility is available to address the escalating problem and avert a looming economic disaster. International shipping lines have caught up with this rational approach and are asking permission to berth at Manila North Harbor and to reposition empty containers urgently required by their source ports. But as usual, these requests seem to be falling on deaf ears. In any case, let’s hope that the government acts swiftly before mini groceries and friendly neighborhood sari-sari stores run out of goods to sell.

A divided LP will assure its fall

Insider sources informed us about the growing schism within the Liberal Party because of the “second term” being pushed by Mar Roxas and his boys. Everyone knows Speaker Sonny Belmonte has been pushing for charter change but only as far as the economic provisions are concerned.

The move of Roxas allies to lift term limits for the president and legislators has resulted in the withdrawal of support by some legislators for the proposed Belmonte bill – much to the displeasure of the Speaker. What was that saying again about “united we stand, divided we fall”?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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