The number of unemployed adult Filipinos spiked in the first quarter of 2018, a nationwide survey released on Labor Day said.
As if to echo the rallying cry of those who gathered on the streets on May 1, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey for the first quarter of 2018 said around 10.9 million Filipino adults were jobless.
These unemployed adult Filipinos either left their work or were seeking jobs for the first time.
This year’s data was remarkably higher than December 2017’s 7.2 million unemployed adults.
The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) tackled this issue by releasing a statement saying that the government would “continue to address and improve the labor situation in the country”.
The PCOO also stressed that while the number of jobless adult Filipinos rose, the number of those employed also surged from January 2017’s 39.3 million to January 2018’s 41.8 million.
Also, according to the Philippine Information Agency, job fairs organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) opened up around 143,000 job openings on Labor Day. These job fairs would open local and overseas employment opportunities for Filipinos, DOLE Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself capped the Labor Day commemoration by signing the much contested “anti-labor contractualization” order.
It can be recalled that during his bid for the presidency, Duterte promised that he would completely abolish the practice of hiring employees on a fixed-term basis. The president, however, said recently that the abolition of job contracting would only be possible through a legislation passed in the Philippine Congress. Such a pronouncement spurred protests from labor groups.
Days before the Labor Day, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte might still sign an executive order to ban illegal job contracting. Duterte finally signed the Executive Order 51 on a government-sponsored Labor Day commemoration activity in Cebu City.