Contrary to President Benigno Aquino III’s claims, the Philippines is nowhere near attaining first world status, a party-list lawmaker said Tuesday.
“A simple check at the status of the economy and our nation’s job creation immediately belies any claim that we are nearing first world status as a country,” Ridon said.
The lawmaker was referring to a statement made by the president during the Brigada Eskwela activity at Marikina Elementary School yesterday.
“Kung madidiligan ang ating mga pinunla, at makaka-graduate ang mga pinag-aaral natin upang makapasok sa maaayos na trabaho, baka po tuluyan nang nasa first world status tayo sa panahong iyon,” Aquino said, explaining that his administration’s programs are behind such development.
“Mr. President, nothing’s farther from the truth. Our nation is mired in poverty, we cannot create jobs domestically, and our youth are neither studying nor working. Before you brag about your first world status delusion, you should first get your facts straight,” Ridon said.
The youth solon noted a study by independent think tank IBON Foundation which shows that the number of overseas Filipino workers leaving the country on a daily basis far outpaces jobs created domestically. The research group noted that based on government figures, the country has deployed over 4,500 workers per day in 2014, while only an average of 2,800 jobs are created domestically per day.
“Our president likes to paint a rosy picture of progress every time he opens his mouth. But in fact, he does this to gloss over the grim reality – that the Philippines has even turned for the worse in several vital sections,” Ridon said.
The lawmaker also noted the high unemployment among the rank of the youth during the Aquino presidency.
Based on conservative official figures from the Philippine Statistical Authority’s (PSA) January 2015 Labor Force Survey released last March 12, about 4.1 million Filipinos are unemployed as of January 2015. Of the total unemployed, the age group 15 to 24 years comprised 47.3 percent or about 2 million, while the age group 25 to 34, 31.6 percent or about 1.3 million.
Taken together, about 3.3 million youths aged 15-34 are unemployed as of January. The PSA also noted that one in five unemployed Filipinos is a college graduate.
“We have to consider that these are conservative government figures that do not consider those who work part-time or work from home as unemployed. Still, the figures as they are reveal the worsening jobs crisis in the country, especially in the ranks of the youth,” Ridon stressed.
“Coupled with depressed wages and the soaring cost of living, this worsening jobs crisis results to widening poverty in the country,” he added.
“How can we graduate into being a first world nation under such circumstances?” the lawmaker asked.
The lack of national industries and the worsening state of agriculture are some of the main reasons why the nation cannot create jobs and stimulate the economy significantly, Ridon said.
“Instead of creating jobs in the country, the government vastly relies on its extant labor export policy, which drives millions of Filipinos abroad to find jobs. This policy is further intensified by the implementation of the K to 12 program, which is fundamentally designed to produce skilled workers for export,” the youth solon explained.