Press Release
February 28, 2017

Villanueva urges gov't to prioritize labor measures amid unemployment rate increase

Senator Joel Villanueva has called for the immediate passage of significant labor measures in light of the current survey results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) estimating a big increase on the number of jobless Filipinos in the last quarter of 2016.

The survey reports that 25.1 percent of the 1,500 adult respondents have no jobs. This is 6.7 points up from 18.4 percent or approximately 8.2 million jobless Filipinos in September 2016.

The said increase in the joblessness rate has been tagged by the SWS as "the worst in two years".

Of the 25.1 percent, 12.2 percent or roughly 5.5 million individuals resigned from work, 8.7 percent (3.9 million) were retrenched, dismissed or had their contracts ended, and 4.3 percent (1.9 million) were first-time job seekers.

These figures are comparatively higher than the data on unemployed Filipinos released by Labor Force Survey in 2016 which pegs unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, a slight decrease from 5.6 percent in 2015.

Among those considered by SWS as jobless are those without jobs at present but are looking for work. The SWS definition of joblessness excludes those who are not looking for a job which may include housewives, students, retired, or persons with disabilities (PWDs).

With the said report, Villanueva reiterates his call for the urgent passage of the labor measures he has authored including Senate Bill No. 1116 or the "End of Endo or Contractualization Act of 2016" which seeks to provide security of tenure for workers.

"Given that 8.7% (3.9million) of the unemployed individuals were 'endo' workers, we have to ensure that we adopt a law that will regularize workers and ensure that they will receive social benefits and protection," Villanueva said.

Other bills Villanueva filed were the "Tulong-Trabaho bill" that aims to give free access to technical and vocational training programs, and the "Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) Act" which gives a clearer picture of the competencies prospective employees need for their job interests while the employers are provided with specific training standards and qualifications that are aligned with industry standards.

"There are a lot of jobs in the market, but what is lacking here are the right set of skills needed for the jobs that are in demand nowadays," Villanueva shared.

Meanwhile, the SWS survey results also find that more Filipinos remain optimistic on job prospects this year. Those who say that they are positive of more available jobs in the next 12 months rose to 48 percent in December from 44 percent in September.

The said figure translated to a rating of "very high" +37, the highest since the survey began in 1998.

"It's good to know that more Filipinos remain optimistic on job prospects. I believe the government must make good use of this positive perception of the public by supporting and passing vital laws that would secure jobs for our countrymen," Villanueva said.

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