The basic economic issues confronting the new Duterte administration will take center stage in the peace negotiations as the next substantive agenda on the Comprehensive Agreement for Social and Economic Reforms. IBON joins the public in aspiring for the soonest resumption of the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
#SONA2016 #justpeacePH | As his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) nears, research group IBON said that this is an opportune time for Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte to address the people’s clamor to boost domestic job creation. The group said that the new administration can do so by declaring national industrialization as the major strategy for Philippine development instead of continuing the same failed neoliberal policies of past governments.
The Duterte government is challenged to overcome diminishing job generation, which is the result of the neoliberal framework pushed by past administrations. IBON estimated that only 692,000 new jobs were created annually between 2011 and 2015, compared to the annual average of 858,000 jobs created from 2001-2010 when the economy was smaller and growth slower.
The group also noted that new jobs generated from 2010-2015 were mostly service-based to meet the needs of foreigners and foreign producers, rather than domestic-production-based to serve national development. These jobs were particularly in hotel and restaurants (average of 133,000 additional jobs annually); business process outsourcing activities, transport, storage and communication (98,000); and wholesale and retail trade (87,000).
Taking into account the large number of discouraged job-seekers left out by the official unemployment count, the group also estimates that there were around 4.2 to 4.3 million unemployed and a 9.8 to 10% unemployment rate in 2015.
According to IBON, should the new administration prioritize developing and strengthening the Filipino agriculture and industry sectors, there would be a significant increase in much-needed and stable production-based employment. The history and experience of countries like Japan, China and South Korea have shown this. The starting point of these economies was land reform and generous support to farmers alongside the use of agricultural and other local raw material to build light to heavy domestic industries, noted the group.
IBON said that the Duterte administration has already made promising pro-people initiatives. It can further concretize this gesture by heeding the Filipino people’s aspirations for more gainful jobs through genuine agrarian reform, agro-industrial development and local industrialization. In turn, the Filipinos’ wealth of ingenuity and labor can be used for genuine national development, the group said. ###