Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said that majority of Filipino young workers aged 15 to 30 years old are being occupied with some of the lowest-paying jobs in the country, and that efforts must be exerted to produce more high-quality and high-paying jobs to address unemployment and underemployment among the youth.
The government must invest in digital and green industries to produce new jobs and improve the country’s economic activity, according to the lawmaker, in a statement released over the weekend.
Angara cited data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which said that of the 13.8 million young workers currently employed in the country in 2021, 14.7% of them were underemployed, or equivalent to 2.02 million. Meanwhile, 17.2% of Filipino youth are unemployed.
During a Senate committee hearing last week which Angara presided over, PSA said that underemployment is defined as those already employed but still looking for another job.
“The quality of jobs that we produce is what we should be looking after,” Angara, who is also the chairperson of the Senate Committee of the Youth, said.
“We should be asking ourselves and our government agencies should be asking themselves what we can do to help enable the private sector to produce higher-paying, higher-quality jobs,” he added.
Citing a report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), Angara said that young workers who failed to get jobs, or those that lost their jobs, are vulnerable to economic “scarring,” or medium- to long-term damage to one’s financial situation and capacity even if the economic conditions gets better.
This is why, Angara said, these young people would rather settle on less-paying jobs or jobs over which they are overqualified.
“What we need to do is to have the government agencies involved in job creation to help the private sector, particularly the industries and entrepreneurs, to create higher paying jobs for Filipinos,” he said.
Angara, in the 19th Congress, has refiled bills on National Digital Transformation; Use of Digital Payments; appointment of Local Information and Communication Technology (ICT) officers in local government units; Artists Incentives Act; and inclusion of creatives in the Balik Scientist Act.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.
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