Research group IBON said that while the Philippines saw growth, increasing corporate profits, investor confidence and international media hype under the Aquino administration, less new jobs were created, joblessness remains high, and the quality of work has worsened.
Falling job creation under the incumbent administration has resulted in the most unemployed, underemployed, discouraged job-seekers, and overseas Filipino workers in the country’s history. IBON noted that only an average of 692,000 new jobs were created annually in the period 2011-2015 which is much smaller than the 858,000 annually in 2001-2010.
This has resulted in 11.5 million unemployed and underemployed Filipinos in 2015, including millions of discouraged job-seekers, and up to 12 million overseas Filipino workers and their families. Some 5,000 overseas Filipino workers go abroad daily for work which is more than double the scant 1,775 new jobs created per day in the country.
The group stressed that despite the reported uptick in employment, the quality of jobs is dismal. Some 24.4 million working Filipinos or nearly three-fifths (63%) of total employed are non-regular, agency-hired, informal sector, or unpaid family workers. Some seven million workers nationwide, or about four out of 10 (38%), are non-regular or agency-hired workers. These have driven average basic pay nationwide to a meager Php380 per day which gives a very low standard of
living. IBON added that the mandated minimum wage lags behind growing labor productivity while the actual daily basic pay received barely keeps up with the rising prices of goods and services. As it is, nearly half (46%) of workers receive less than the minimum wage and only one-fourth (25%) receive just exactly the low minimum wage.
The group also commented that even the promised 14th month pay for government employees does not bring the million or so government employees at the lowest salary grades up to the decent living wage of Php16,000 per month.
Falling job generation, increasing poor quality work, and measly wages are the result of more than three decades of ‘free market’ economics that have stunted domestic industries and eroded Philippine agriculture. As long as the state supports the private profit-seeking of a few rather than socioeconomic development for the majority, most of the Filipino workforce, employed or otherwise, will remain deprived of gainful work, IBON said.