, 2009 (STAR) By Mayen Jaymalin - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported yesterday that the number of jobless Filipinos increased to 2.9 million in July, apparently due to the lingering effects of the global financial crisis.

Labor Assistant Secretary Reydeluz Conferido, however, maintained that the working conditions for most Filipinos continue to improve despite the growth in unemployment.

Conferido said the latest National Statistics Office (NSO) survey showed that the number of unemployed persons nationwide went up by 200,000 to 2.9 million in July from 2.7 million during the same period last year.

He admitted that the country is still experiencing the lingering effects of the economic slump as shown by the slight growth in unemployment rate.

Conferido said the NSO survey showed that National Capital Region (NCR) and Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon) recorded the highest unemployment rate in the country.

“Absolutely, the number of unemployed in July increased by 200,000 but we have to consider that the number of employable also went up sharply from last year which means we have a larger base of job seekers,” Conferido pointed out.

Conferido stressed that the increase in labor force participation rate (LFPR) in July was considered a positive development as the figure indicated that more Filipinos are hopeful that they would immediately find jobs.

“Increase in labor force participation rate is a clear indication that more Filipinos are feeling improvement in our economy that they are now opting to look for work,” Conferido said.

He noted that the number of underemployed or those looking for extra work went down from 21 percent last year to 19 percent or an improvement of 1.2 percent during the one-year span.

“Improvement in underemployment is a sign of recovery – longer working hours for our workers as well as better income for them. This means that our workers are now happier with their income,” Conferido said.

Conferido said the results of the NSO survey indicated that the government’s stimulus package, emergency employment, and other programs helped the country in addressing the ill effects of the financial crisis.

He said that the government, particularly the DOLE, is continuously exerting efforts to make the situation better for Filipino workers by improving the quality of available jobs in the country and overseas.

GMA names new CCP president (The Philippine Star) Updated September 16, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Amid a host of controversies dogging the country’s premier arts institution, Malacañang has appointed a new president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

In separate letters dated Sept.1, President Arroyo named Antonio S. Yap to the CCP Board of Trustees and issued a desire letter for his appointment as president. Yap will take over the presidency of the CCP following the retirement last July 26 of president Nestor Jardin, who had served for two four-year terms, the maximum provided by the center’s charter.

The letters were transmitted to the CCP board by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita on Sept. 10, on the eve of a controversial tribute concert the center gave for its founder, former first lady Imelda Marcos.

The CCP is also caught in the middle of the raging controversy over the naming of this year’s National Artist awardees, and it has asked the Supreme Court to revert to the original list of four nominees which the joint boards of the CCP and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) had sent to Malacañang for confirmation. The four artists are Manuel Conde (film, posthumous), Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (visual arts), Francisco Lazaro (literature, posthumous), and Ramon Santos (music).

Malacañang dropped Santos from the list and added four names: Cecille Guidote-Alvarez, Carlo J. Caparas, Jose “Pitoy” Moreno, and Francisco Mañosa.

A search on the Internet showed that Yap is president of the Padova College in Mabalacat, Pampanga, which was funded in 1966 by his father. His parents are both educators. He is a Lia-Com graduate of De La Salle University, summa cum laude, major in accounting. He was a partner at the accounting and management firm SGV.

In a board meeting yesterday at the CCP in Pasay City, Yap was formally elected to the board.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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