PH employment rate improves, underemployment falls in July – PSA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 5, 2019   •   1002

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ employment numbers have improved while the underemployment rate declined in July, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday.

The PSA said the number of employed persons increased by 5.7 percent in July, which translates to an additional 2.3 million workers. This is higher than the 1.2 percent recorded in the same month in 2018 based on the July round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS).

The total number of employed Filipinos reached nearly 43 million in July 2019 on account of stronger employment in the services (6.1% from 4.7% in 2018) and agriculture sectors (7.6% from -7.4% in 2018), the PSA reported.

Underemployment, the proportion of those already employed but still seeking additional work, fell to its lowest rate in all July rounds of the survey at 13.9 percent from last year’s 17.2 percent. This means a reduction of over a million underemployed workers in July 2019.

On the other hand, the unemployment rate was steady at 5.4 percent, the same as the corresponding month in 2018, the PSA said.

The year-to-date unemployment rate is estimated at 5.2 percent, near the upper end of the 4.3 to 5.3 percent target in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in July expanded further to 62.1 percent from 60.1 percent in the same period in 2018.

In particular, the labor force participation of the young (15 to 24 years old) went up to 38.3 percent, which is 1.5 percentage points higher than the previous survey period.

“While the Philippine economy has shown remarkable improvements in the labor market, the government should continually improve its efforts towards generating more productive and higher quality employment that provides adequate income for Filipino workers and their families,” National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary for Policy and Planning and current Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Rosemarie Edillon said.

She added that the full implementation of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, and easing of foreign investment restrictions in public utilities, retail trade, and domestic-market oriented firms, are seen to create more jobs for Filipinos.

“The government must continue encouraging the private sector to increase employment opportunities for young people, supporting technical vocational training, promoting apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs among the youth,” Edillon said.

PSA urged to suspend face-to-face registration for nat’l ID system, other surveys

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A solon has called on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to temporarily halt its door-to-door data collection for the national identification system following reports of 400 persons being placed under quarantine after a data enumerator was found positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a letter addressed to PSA National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa, Albay Representative Joey Salceda said face-to-face data collection and other surveys should be suspended to prevent a super-spreader event.

“I appeal strongly to your office to temporarily suspend door-to-door and face-to-face data collection for the national ID system and other surveys until we could reasonably guarantee that enumerators will not be vectors for infection,” Salceda said.

He said some 400 individuals are currently undergoing home quarantine in Polangui, Albay because of an enumerator who tested positive for COVID-19.

“If infection is confirmed, the enumerator would have been a super-spreader,” Salceda said.

“Even if a super-spreader event does not take place, the protocols have forced contacts of the enumerator to quarantine, interrupting their livelihoods,” he added.

The lawmaker also stressed that data enumerators themselves are also “at risk of being close contacts of the infected.”

“If the PSA will insist on face-to-face registration, enumerators should at least be vaccinated,” he said.

Salceda urged the PSA to look for ways to conduct data gathering acting that do not endanger the public.

“While I support the national ID system and completing it as soon as possible to help distribute necessary social programs, we should conduct data gathering activities in ways that do not endanger the lives of our citizens,” he said.

 

Duterte defends EO 128; insists order is just temporary

Maris Federez   •   April 20, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday gave his assurance that the executive order that he signed lowering the tariff on imported pork is just a temporary measure.

In his pre-recorded Talk to the Nation aired on Monday night, the President responded to the move of the Senate to recall Executive Order 128.

The president said that while he understands the senators’ move, his finance managers believe that their decision will help the businessmen who can import pork to bring down the price of pork and pork products.

“I can understand from where the senators come from, and there is also the domestic supply they intend to protect. And they are vehement about it. I think that they think that they are right,” the president said.

Duterte, however, said that as soon as the price of pork goes down, they can always recall the said order.

“Problem is yung mga managers ko, mga finance, I’d like to mention Secretary Dar, NEDA, and maybe Sonny Dominguez, are really in favor. Para sa kanila, the managers ng departamento ko believe that it would, in the end, tutal kung medyo malakas na yung domestic market and there is a movement, madali lang naman eh, we can always withdraw the EO that I signed,” he said.

“It’s just a temporary measure really to bring down the prices, but the senators see it in a different light,” he said.

The president insists that his order will contribute greatly to the benefit of the people.

“I’m sure that itong mga senador they have already their stand. I know that they’re insisting to it, while we — yung mga managers ng department ko — kami yung nag-iimplement, kami yung nagpapagalaw. We implement certain measures that could redound, we believe, to the benefit of the people,” the president further said.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar said that while the setting up of price ceiling from February to April has helped in bringing down the country’s inflation rate from 4.7 to 4.5, the tendency of some traders was to bring up the prices of the locally produced.

Dar added that the president’s EO was to address the insufficient supply of pork in the market.

“The range of 388,000 metric tons po ang kakulangan at ang demand po natin this year based sa 15 kilos per capita consumption ay nasa 1.6 million metric tons po ang demand. Kung titingnan natin ang supply ay nasa 1.2 million metric tons. So talagang may pagkukulang po tayo ng supply dito sa taon na ito. Gawa naman nagshrink, bumaba po yung ang local food production ng 25%,” he said.

He further said that the EO was not designed to bring down the hog industry.

“We are not killing the local hog industry. Ang inaangkat lang po natin, mahal ng pangulo ay yung kakulangan lang natin itong taon. So yung mga measures na pinapatupad po natin, through your approval, ay mapababa natin ang inflation kasi bababa talaga ang presyo sa merkado dito sa mga imported pork. So yung EO 128 was a result of painstaking process. And that’s why the lowering of tariff will really lower down the pork prices in the market,” he said.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua also stressed that the EO will help in lowering the country’s inflation rate to 3.8%.

NEDA forecasts that with the implementation of the EO, the price of pork will drop from more than P300 per kilo to P215 to P220 per kilo.

“We are in a COVID crisis right now. We cannot afford that the people will have both an income problem and a price problem,” Chua stressed.

With the explanations of DA and NEDA, the president hopes that the public will understand the economic managers in arriving at certain levels of decision to make it more responsive to the demand of the economic situation of the Philippines.

IATF approves use of automatic contact tracing via smart messaging system

Maris Federez   •   April 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Saturday (April 10) approved the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority to use automatic contact tracing through smart messaging system.

A statement issued by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Sunday said this is to further strengthen and improve the use of StaySafe.ph System – the official social distancing, COVID-19 health-condition reporting, and contact tracing system of the government.

“To ensure interoperability and integration of all contact tracing applications integration in the StaySafe.ph System, there will be an initial beta-testing, together with the proposed messaging, of the Smart Messaging System in Pasig City due on May 1, 2021, and beta-testing in the consortium of Antipolo and cities of Pasig, Mandaluyong, Valenzuela due on May 1, 2021, with access to COVID-19 Document Repository System (CDRS),” the statement said.

The IATF has also adopted the recommendation on the immediate completion of the transfer of ownership of the CDRS, and its immediate integration with the StaySafe.PH System and other local contact tracing systems and applications, to the Department of Health (DOH), Roque said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been directed to be the overall lead in the implementation of the project, while the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), is directed to lead its national interoperability.

The DOH, on the other hand, is in charge of ensuring the integration of the StaySafe.ph System with the CDRS.

The DILG shall be convening with the DICT and the DOH to formulate the necessary action plan with specific timelines and targets for the said project.

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