Senator Sonny Angara has called on the Duterte administration to focus more on employment generation in the next five years, which, he said, is key to ending poverty and drug problem in the country.
The latest labor force survey showed a decline in unemployment rate from 6.1% or 2.62 million unemployed Filipinos in April of 2016 to 5.7% or 2.44 million people in the same period this year. This translates to about 180,000 Filipinos who gained employment in the past year.
"We welcome the improvement in our employment situation during the first year of President Duterte's administration. We call on our labor authorities to not only sustain, but intensify, our job creation programs," said Angara, vice chairman of the Senate labor committee.
"We heard our President in his first SONA ordering our police force to triple its efforts to stop the drug trade. We are hoping that he makes the same command to minimize joblessness in the country. Dahil tiyak ko na ang pagbibigay ng sapat at disenteng trabaho ay isa sa mga sagot upang makaiwas ang ating mga kababayan sa droga at matulungan silang makaahon sa kahirapan," the senator added.
A Rappler report on the profile of drug users who underwent rehab, which used data from the Dangerous Drugs Board, showed that there were more unemployed than employed rehab patients. Three out of four rehab patients, on the other hand, have a monthly family income of less than P11,000 or just above the poverty threshold.
The same report also showed that there were out-of-school youths in rehab than students.
Angara, who has shepherded the passage of nine labor laws in his first three years as senator, noted that the correlation between drug abuse and unemployment, especially among the youth, should be urgently addressed.
Among his laws are the JobStart Philippines Act (RA 10869) and the law strengthening the Special Program for the Employment of Students (RA 10917) which both aim to help the youth land a job.
According to the data from the Department of Labor and Employment, there are 215,615 poor but deserving students and out-of-school youth beneficiaries under SPES in the first year of the Duterte administration, while there are 2,551 JobStart beneficiaries who have stable jobs now.
"Patuloy nating suportahan ang pangulo sa mga program nito sa paglikha ng trabaho. Dahil ito pa rin ang daan upang sama-samang umangat ang kalidad ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino. This is the key to realizing inclusive and sustainable growth in our country," Angara said.
Source: Senate of the Philippines