Solon slams increasing TESDA budget, gov’t job generation priorities

ANAKPAWIS  Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano said the high budget allocation for the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) reflects skewed government priorities concerning job generation and development of the local labor force.

Mariano noted that TESDA is getting the lion’s share of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) annual budget allocation. For the 2013 proposed budget, TESDA will get P3.096 billion or 38% of the total DOLE 2013 proposed budget of P8.083 billion.

“Instead of supporting Filipino industries and creating high-quality jobs locally, the government is focused on training workers that will serve for its labor-export program. TESDA’s constantly increasing budget ensures that there will be an army of skilled, English-speaking Filipino workers for export to countries in need of quality manpower.”

“Even if DOLE showed that more than a million jobs were created in the past year, in reality, what we are producing are temporary, low-quality and low-paying jobs.” National Statistics Office (NSO) data showed that local employment increased by 1.02 million in April 2012 to 37.841 million from 36.821 million in April 2011. “Out of this figure, more than 16.2 million are part-time jobs,” Mariano said.

Government data cited that unemployment lowered to 2.803 million in April 2012 compared to 2.871 million in April 2012. But Mariano said in real terms, the current number of unemployed Filipinos could reach to 4.4 million. “Ever since DOLE modified its ‘definition of employment’ in 2005, reports on employment and unemployment rates have become deceptive and unrealistic. Year after year, the government reports rising employment but overall, we are not creating gainful employment — jobs and industries that contribute to the development of the local economy.”

“The registered increase in wage and salary workers which is 993,000 could be attributed as part-time and unskilled work. The number of full time workers decreased by 1.6 million to 20.9 million in April 2012. On the other hand, the number of part-time workers – or those who worked for less than 40 hours per week – increased by 2.5 million over the same period.”

“The percentage of part-time workers in the total number of employed substantially increased to 42.8% from 37.1% in April 2011. Mean hours worked also decreased by 2.4 hours per week, at 39.2 hours in April 2012 compared to 41.6 hours in April 2011. This indicates less work hours, lesser earnings and pay for workers,” said Mariano. The number of self-employed and unpaid family workers also increased.

“Malacanang’s rosy 6.4% GDP growth rate is not translating to gainful and productive employment for Filipino workers. Without any real industries and development of the largely agriculture-based economy, local job generation will remain unreliable and low-quality,” Mariano said.

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