On the worsening problem of unemployment and other dismal economic and social conditions

3 mins read

By Jose Maria Sison

According to figures from the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA), 10 million people lost their jobs in the third quarter of 2019. That is a whopping 23 per cent of the Philippine labor force of 44 million people.

Adult joblessness rose in Balance Luzon (25 percent), Mindanao (19.9 percent) and Metro Manila (24.5 percent).

The unemployment figure does not include underemployment, which has been understated at 16.4 per cent of the labor force and which in fact consists mostly of fully unemployed doing occasional odd jobs. 

The underemployment figure is usually far higher than the unemployment figure and is always used to conceal full unemployment. 

Under the Duterte regime, the rates of unemployment and underemployment have soared. But the regime has usually claimed a mere 3 to 5 per cent unemployment rate or an incredible employment rate of 95 to 97 per cent. 

It is an interesting question whether 10 to 12 million Filipinos or at least 25 per cent of the labor force who cannot find employment in the Philippines but find it abroad and even make substantial foreign exchange remittances should be considered employed within the Philippine economy when in fact they are not employed here.

If one adds up the total number of unemployed residing in the Philippines and those unemployed going abroad to take jobs, it can be said that easily more than 50 percent of the labor force of 44 million people are not employed in the Philippines.

The dismal conditions of massive unemployment in the Philippines are due to the lack of genuine development through land reform and national industrialization and the wastage of resources due to high import-dependent consumption, mounting debt and tax burden, overpriced infrastructure projects, rampant bureaucratic corruption and wanton military spending.

Despite the fast worsening wage and living conditions, the soaring rate of unemployment, the inflation of the prices of food and other basic commodities and the rapid spread of mass poverty, mercenary poll survey firms like SWS and Pulse Asia have continued to claim a high popularity (trust and satisfaction) rating for Duterte.

The Duterte regime has increasingly made the broad masses of the people suffer the policies of neoliberalism and state terrorism and has committed the most outrageous crimes of tyranny, treason, mass murder and plunder.

By escalating oppression and exploitation, the regime has made the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system more than ever ripe for the simultaneous rise of gigantic mass protest actions and the people’s war for national liberation, democracy, social justice and all-round development. ###

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