Reacting to PSA-reported rise in unemployment rate in September, Ka Leody De Guzman, presidential candidate of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), asserted the need for a “national employment guarantee.”
According to the PSA, an 8.9% unemployment rate translates to 4.25 million Filipinos without jobs.
De Guzman stressed that this situation is unacceptable, especially after considering the growth in wealth of billionaires amid the pandemic.
“Hindi dapat pinapaubaya ng gobyerno ang paglikha ng bagong trabaho sa pribadong sektor. Nakita natin ang epekto ng ganyang kalakaran – naiipon lamang ang yamang nalilikha ng mga manggagawa sa kamay ng ilang bilyonaryong negosyante. Habang may pandemya, lumobo ang kanilang kolektibong yaman ng 30% o P3.9 trillion. Tungkulin ng pamahalaan na tugunan ang krisis sa kabuhayan ng mayorya, hindi ang pagpapalago o pagpapanatili sa tubo ng mga bilyonaryo . . . [The government should not defer job generation to the private sector. We have seen the consequences of that approach – the wealth created by workers was concentrated in the hands of a few billionaires and businessmen. During the pandemic, their collective wealth grew by 30% or P3.9 trillion. It is the government’s responsibility to address and resolve the crisis in livelihoods plaguing the majority, not maintaining or facilitating the growth of the profits of billionaires]”, said De Guzman.
The data Ka Leody cited is from the “Philippines’ 50 Richest List” released by Forbes Magazine last September.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, of which Ka Leody is the Chairperson, has long called for an aggressive government-led jobs generation program to solve the problem of unemployment and revitalize the economy.
De Guzman states, ““Umiiral man ang pandemya o hindi, nariyan ang napakaraming problema ng masang Pilipino. Maraming trabaho na malilikha sa pagtugon sa mga problemang ito. Habang patuloy ang krisis sa kalusugan, kinakailangan natin ng mas maraming contact tracers, health facility personnel, primary care assistants, at iba pang medical workers. . . [Whether there is a pandemic or not, the Filipino people face numerous problems. Addressing these problems will generate lots of jobs. While the crisis in health persists, more contact tracers, health facility personnel, primary care assistants, and other medical workers are needed].”
He added: “Upang tugunan ang krisis sa klima, kailangan natin ng mga gagawa, mangangalaga at magpapaandar ng bagong infrastraktura ng malinis at renewable na enerhiya tulad ng solar at wind. Ang gobyernong tunay na tumutugon sa interes ng masa at manggagawa ay siyang lumilikha at nagtitiyak ng trabaho nilagay . . . [to address the climate crisis, we need to train a lot more workers to build, maintain, and operate new infrastructure of clean and renewable energy such as solar and wind. A government that truly serves the interests of the people is one that creates and guarantees jobs for the people].”
The Labor First Policy being advanced by PLM’s candidates also includes the immediate implementation of unemployment insurance for the unemployed while awaiting the creation of new jobs by the government.