Press Release
February 15, 2013

To make growth inclusive

The government should strive to have the encouraging economic growth figures translate into prosperity among Filipino families through the creation of more jobs, Sen. Chiz Escudero said.

Escudero noted Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan's view that it would take about $3 billion in new investments every year for the country to generate from 3 million to 4 million jobs annually and catch up with the employment backlog.

Balisacan based his estimates on a study of the World Bank that at least 3 million jobs needed to be created to sustain economic growth and achieve President Aquino's goal of making growth inclusive.

Escudero, nevertheless, said that quality jobs should be created to provide Filipinos with sufficient pay to afford the rising cost of living.

Data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) have shown that while the official unemployment rate hovered at around 7 to 8 percent, but the underemployment rate reaches as high as 20 percent.

This indicates that most jobs being created do not pay enough for Filipinos to feed their families.

"In this highly competitive world, there is a crying need for the government to assure that schools in the country, for one, are able to produce graduates who have the capability to find quality work that mostly requires a sufficient level of technology skills," Escudero said.

Technology changes at lightning speed that what is learned in school today may be considered obsolete in one or two years.

He said that it is incumbent for the public school system, with the timely introduction of the K+12 education program, to grow as fast as technology changes to allow Filipino students to be competitive in the jobs market when they graduate.

Escudero said, for instance, the high-paying jobs now being created through the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) boom mainly through call centers require above-average English and technology skills at the same time.

"There is an overriding need for public schools to not only modernize but to be updated with the latest developments in technology," he said.

The development of the agricultural and industrial sectors, in which most Filipinos rely on for employment, also requires modern technology to be able to compete in an open market primarily with the start of the Association of Southeast Asian (Asean) economic bloc in 2015, Escudero added.

Experts say that for the country to be able to generate enough jobs, the focus should be on sectors with the inherent ability to create employment such as the tourism, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

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