Press Release
March 18, 2009


Sen. Loren Legarda yesterday urged the government to resort to direct hiring in implementing projects financed by the P330 billion stimulus package set aside in the national budget "to benefit as many unemployed as possible."

She issued the appeal after noting that the number of unemployed Filipinos had jumped to 2.855 million as of January, according to the National Statistics Office.

"This number of unemployed is expected to go higher as more and more factories and businesses close and more Overseas Filipino Workers return home from foreign countries impacted by the global economic downturn," said Loren.

"We must see to it that every single centavo of the taxpayers' money appropriated for stimulus projects go directly to the pockets of the unemployed who are hired to do the work," said Loren. "Projects financed by the stimulus package should be labor-intensive so as to create as many jobs as possible," she asserted.

She identified some of these projects as related to infrastructures. such as construction and repair of roads, ports, airports, irrigation systems, schools, hospitals, improvement of the environment through construction of parks and planting of trees.

Loren also said that unemployed nurses could be hired and sent to the towns and rural areas to serve the residents there.

Loren recalled that direct hiring of the unemployed was done by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the height of the Great Depression in the United States under the Works Progress Administration.

The WPA was the largest New Deal agency, employing millions of people and affecting almost every locality in the United States, especially rural and western mountain populations.

According to Loren, the administration of US President Barrack Obama is following the New Deal policies of President Roosevelt in tackling the financial mess in the US. "We must also learn from the experience of other countries in meeting this problem," said Loren.

She appealed to the Department of Public Works and Highways and other government agencies that would implement the stimulus projects "to eliminate all kinds of graft in the implementation of the projects so that the full benefits can be enjoyed by the unemployed."

"Direct hire of workers by the government in projects financed by our taxes should be resorted to in order to prevent bidding irregularities and to prevent large chunks of the stimulus money from going into private pockets. In this time of crisis, we should all practice patriotism and shed all selfishness for the sake of country and the unfortunate," declared Loren.

"Spending in public works projects would not only put money in the pockets of the unemployed," Loren said, "but would also stimulate demand for higher production and jump-start our economy toward eventual recovery."

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