Press Release
May 27, 2012

Legarda: Strengthen Local Employment Services,
Boost MSME Promotion to Address Unemployment

Senator Loren Legarda today called for strengthened efforts to address unemployment in the country following a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) that showed 13.8 million Filipino adults are jobless.

Legarda, however, noted that the SWS survey result for the month of March significantly differ from the official Labor Force Survey (LFS) result that showed there were only 2.9 million unemployed Filipinos as of January 2012.

"The wide difference in the SWS and LFS estimates is a significant concern since data and information like unemployment are critical in the crafting of labor market policies. Thus, there is a need to clarify these differences, particularly by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the National Statistics Office (NSO), for the policy makers and the public in general," the Senator said.

"Despite the difference in the estimates, the fact remains that the crisis of joblessness is with us and might even be on the rise. It is important that stronger efforts are exerted in strengthening employment creation, facilitation, and enhancement, which must all be embedded as part of local governance," she stressed.

Legarda explained that to be more effective, officers of Public Employment Service Offices (PESO) in local government units should take a more proactive role of being local employment policy advisers, employment creation managers, and training managers.

Legarda, co-author of Republic Act 8759 or the Public Employment Service Office Act of 1999, said that the role of PESOs is vital in ensuring that employment creation initiatives are matched with local training programs and livelihood activities, and avoiding mismatches which greatly contribute to high unemployment rates.

The Senator also pushed for a more vigorous promotion and implementation of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Law (RA 9501) and Barangay Kabuhayan Law (RA 9509), which she authored, stressing that viable employment alternatives such as self-employment, particularly on micro enterprise activities, will strongly complement the overall provision of jobs for the growing workforce that is so dependent on wage employment.

"The PESOs, DOLE, MSME Council, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), should synergize their efforts to provide not just jobs but also better earnings to the growing labor force," she pointed out.

"There should also be greater efforts on the part of the national government to bring in direct foreign investments to spur local labor demand. We have to bear in mind that despite the political turmoil, we must immediately and effectively address the needs of our people," Legarda concluded.

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