Monday, January 26, 2009

Jobs Update in the Philippines

As more Filipinos lose jobs or get lower pay for shorter working hours, the workers party Partido ng Manggagawa on Saturday pushed for a bailout package for workers and the poor.

Together with the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute, the party-list organization also called for a tripartite labor summit on job generation and preservation.

PM chairman Renato Magtubo said such a conference among government, employers, and workers should come up with "road map for economic recovery." "Labor will push for a bailout package for workers as the cornerstone of a recovery plan," he said.

Magtubo's party-list organization proposes to give subsidy to those who lost their jobs and tax refund for all workers. He explained that as most consumers are either poor or workers or both, putting money in their hands so would allow them to spend for their basic needs like food and "thereby keep the wheels of production rolling."

"These proposals comprise an economic stimulus. Industry will collapse if it is squeezed by a tightening of commercial credit on the one hand and on the other by a contraction in consumer spending," he said.

"It is time to put the Philippine economy on a rehabilitation program to cut its decades-long addiction on export orientation and overseas employment. The strategic solution to the crisis is to strengthen the domestic economy by promoting local industrialization and agricultural modernization anchored on agrarian reform," he added.

PM's bailout package also called for a reformed and expanded state employment program for the millions of unemployed Filipinos.
"Workers are the last to benefit during an economic boom and will not agree to be sacrificed first amidst a global crisis. No retreat on labor standards, no surrender on workers' rights," Magtubo said.

On the other hand, the center named after the late foreign affairs secretary said the summit should lead to a "multi-sector and multi-pronged approach in helping displaced workers."

The center's president Susan Ople said the impending closure of Intel in the Philippines and other parts of the world where Filipino information technology workers are employed serves as a wake-up call for the country with more than four million overseas Filipino workers.

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