Press Release
May 13, 2009


Senator Bong Revilla today warned that the record-high unemployment rate would most likely increase crime incidence in the country, as he urged the government to make sure that its job creation programs would produce concrete results.

The senator stressed that violations of law, from petty crimes to big-time illegal activities, are usually committed because of poverty, which is often caused by unemployment. "A jobless family man, mother or even their adult children might desperately steal to meet their basic needs, particularly to calm their hungry stomachs. This is common news story nowadays. Eventually, from a mere shoplifter, an at-large violator will confidently turn to bigger crimes to further escape from poverty, "he said.

This is the reaction of Revilla in response to the Social Weather Station (SWS) survey that said that adult unemployment in the country has zoomed to a record-high 34.2 percent.

Based on the SWS First Quarter Survey, some 14 million Filipino adults are now unemployed, up from 27.9 percent or 11 million unemployed in the previous quarter. "It is not only on crimes against property or stealing. Some of our unemployed might resort to other illegal activities like illegal gambling, illegal drugs and even prostitution. Kumbaga, kapit na sa patalim," Revilla said.

The lawmaker appealed to Malacañang, through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), to ensure that its job creation programs would produce positive results to effectively address the high unemployment rate in the country. "A successful job creation program cannot be determined by the huge number of job applicants in a job fair. We can ultimately say it is successful if most, if not all of the participants were hired. If not, we are only giving them false hopes," he pointed out.

He also urged DOLE and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to make the necessary representations so that Filipino workers will be prioritized for hiring in the new job opportunities in Saudi Arabia, Japan and US, as reported by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

According to the BSP, demand for Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia, Japan, and the US territory of Guam are expected to silence the impact of anticipated lesser remittances this year. There will be a $45 billion project to refurbish Jeddah, the old capital of Saudi Arabia. Under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA, two thousand to three thousand Filipino medical workers will be sent to Japan. A separate 20,000 to 30,000 Filipinos may also be hired for the US military base's relocation to Guam from Japan. "We have world-class workers. Our workers' reputation as hard-working and proficient in English Language is recognized by these countries," Revilla said.

On the other hand, Revilla urged the jobless to make self-employment measures to meet their family needs. "In these hard times, we must find legal ways to survive. And one of the legal ways is entrepreneurship," added Revilla, one of the authors of the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

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