'Jobless rate to worsen if Pinoys buy imported goods'
MANILA, Philippines - A labor expert warned that the unemployment problem will worsen if Pinoy consumers continue to patronize imported products.
In an interview with ANC, University of the Philippines School of Labor professor Emily Cabegin explained that local factories can only expand and hire more workers if there's more demand for Philippine-made goods.
"Dapat tangkalikin natin ang sariling atin. Kung tayo ay bibili lamang ng mga produkto na galing sa China o kaya sa Thailand, mas natutulungan natin ang mga manggagawa sa China saka sa Thailand. Kasi pag may produkto tayong binibili sa kanila, mas kailangan nila i-increase and kanilang production at kailangan din nila mag-hire ng mas madaming workers na kababayan nila," Cabegin said.
The jobless rate in the country remained above 7% or at least 3 million Filipinos for a third straight quarter.
Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan admitted that the country's robust economic growth will not automatically translate to more jobs.
"In a fast-growing economy, in an economy like ours, in its initial stages of rapid growth, you would expect some volatility arising from the fact that industries and firms are moving up and down. Some industries restructure and may reduce their operations to improve. Some firms develop, some close," Balisacan said.
Manufacturing shed over 28,000 jobs last July, second worst to the food industry which lost over 200,000. Mining stood at third with a loss of 14,000 jobs.
The government hopes that more factories will hire "less-skilled" workers to help cut employment to the target of 6.5%.
"The trick is really to keep the investment climate attractive for investors, not just domestic, but foreign investors as well. That's the only way decent jobs can be created," Balisacan added.