/ 10 September 2021

KABATAAN Partylist Rep.  Sarah Jane Elago questioned the reduction of the budget of the Department of Labor and Employment’s Youth Employability program for next year.

“Sa 2022 budget, ang laki ng kaltas sa ‘Employment Facilitation Program’ kabilang ang P25 million kaltas sa programang ‘Youth Employability’.  Ano ang dahilan ng mga kaltas na ito? Anong mga hakbang ang gagawin ng DOLE para tiyakin ang empleyo sa hanay ng mga kabataan?” Elago said during the House Committee on Appropriations’ hearing on DOLE’s proposed budget for 2022.

“Nanatili ang bilang ng mga unemployed ngunit ang laki po ng itinaas ng mga underemployed sa hanay naman ng mga kabataan. Tumataginting na 200,000 at tumaas din ng 1.2 milyon ang not in the labor force,” Elago added.

Based on the Labor Force Survey for July 2021, the unemployment rate decreased to 6.9 percent, from 7.7 percent last month. The drop is caused by the shrinking labor force. The underemployment rate is pegged at 20.9 percent. The survey also revealed that the number of college graduates who remain unemployed is at 34.8 percent.

Elago said youth employment reflects a similar situation where the number of underemployed and those not in the labor force are growing.

The lawmaker said that the Duterte administration’s claims of strong recovery and robust performance via million “job creations” is a sham.

“Duterte regime’s banner program ‘Build  Build Build’ that aims to create jobs in construction and industry through infrastructure programs only brings jobs that are largely temporary and contractual,” she said.

Based on the records of the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are 3.41 million less employed — falling from 45.1 million Filipinos working in June 2021 to 41.7 million in July 2021.

“We have a skyrocketing number of unemployed Filipinos; the government just does not count them anymore. Official reports stating 3.1 million unemployed and 6.9 percent unemployment rate ignore millions of Filipinos afraid of looking for a job because of the uncontained pandemic or those who already gave up after months of searching in vain; this is apart from the fact that there are at least 8.7 million underemployed—with jobs but still looking for better work,” Elago said.