Senator Juan Edgardo Angara on Friday echoed the World Bank’s call to the Philippine government to provide more high-paying jobs to reduce poverty quickly.
He cited the latest data from the bank that showed some 22 million Filipinos, or more than a fifth of the population, still lived below the poverty line.
The bank said the Philippine economy continued to grow, but poverty remained high and the pace of poverty reduction had been slow.
“Making the country’s economic growth inclusive―which means ensuring that it improves the lives of poor Filipinos―has been quite a challenge,” Angara said.
He said the country’s economic gains must lead to the creation of more high-paying jobs.
“Jobs remain the key to poverty. If there is enough income, a permanent and decent job, the lives of Filipinos would be surely uplifted,” said Angara, vice chairman of the labor committee.
He praised the Duterte administration’s initiatives in providing more job opportunities to Filipinos.
He cited the latest labor force survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority showing a decline in the unemployment rate to 5.3 percent this year from 6.6 percent last year.
The quality of jobs, however, deteriorated as the underemployment rate―or the proportion of those already working but still looking for more work or longer working hours―increased to 18 percent from 16.3 percent.
Angara, who sponsored Republic Act 10691 or the law strengthening the Public Employment Service Office or PESO, said that agency should be addressing the jobs-skills mismatch and ensuring that Filipinos had well-paying and stable jobs.
He commended the PESO for its Job Expo 2018―considered one the biggest job fairs in the Visayas―that would be held today at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, where over 33,000 job vacancies for local and overseas employment are up for grabs.
“PESO serves as a venue for Filipinos to explore employment opportunities, and we made sure under the law that every province, city, and municipality in the country has its own PESO,” Angara said.
He said that would ensure that every Filipino would be given the opportunity to look for a job that could help ease his family’s poverty.
“Let us help them to have a permanent and decent job to give them and their children a bright future,” said Angara, who pushed for the law that raised the take-home pay and bonuses of workers.