Press Release
May 13, 2009

Press statement of Senator Loren Legarda


The government must accelerate its efforts to provide more jobs for Filipinos in the light of the finding of the Social Weather Stations that more than one out of three adult Filipinos (34.2%) were unemployed as of the first quarter of this year. This is almost 10 percent more than unemployed adults in the first quarter of last year. If we include all Filipinos of working age from 18 years old and above, the unemployment figures may go near 50 percent.

This goes to show that despite all the hoopla about "job markets" and other propaganda gimmicks, the administration has failed to stem the tide of unemployment, much less provide more jobs. What has happened to the stimulus fund that Congress appropriated in the 2009 budget? There has been no report by the administration as to how many jobs have been created by the fund.

In the United States, the Obama administration has taken concrete steps to halt the spread of unemployment in spite of the fact that the US unemployment rate is just approaching 6 percent. In the Great Depression, unemployment in the US was just 25 percent. We are in a deeper trouble than in the Great Depression, and yet the administration is not showing signs of concern.


Now the cat is out of the bag. Allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have practically admitted that the reason they are pushing for a constitutional amendment is to allow the incumbent president -- whose constitutional term is about to end -- to run for prime minister.

The push for a constitutional change just to allow President Arroyo to continue in power is the height of irresponsibility and insensitivity to the will of the people. An SWS survey conducted only last February showed that 66 percent of voting age Filipinos are against charter change that would allow President Arroyo to continue in power after 2010. Only 15 percent were in favor.

If the administration succeeds in pushing through a constitutional amendment despite strong public opposition, nobody will be able to guarantee peace and stability during the process. Besides there are other matters more urgent that Congress can attend to, such as the global recession, growing poverty and preparations for a clean and orderly election in 2010.

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