Press Release
July 31, 2016


Senator Joel Villanueva, who was recently given the chairmanship of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, has expressed his worry over the high unemployment rate in the country.

According to the World Bank, the Philippines' unemployment rate is highest at 7.1% from 2010 to 2015. It is during the same period when the country was considered as one of the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia which registered the highest annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate at an average of 6.2%.

"We can maximize our country's economic growth by attracting more investments that would create jobs," the senator said.

Villanueva has also expressed his concern over the high unemployment rate among the youth.

World Bank figures show that the unemployment rate among Filipino youth aged 15-24 is averaged at 16.5% in the same period of 2010 to 2015.

The Philippines ranks second to Indonesia with an average of 22.1% in the same period. However, Indonesia managed to reduce the proportion of unemployed youth to 21.8% in 2015 from 25% in 2010.

Philippines, on the other hand, remained its youth unemployment rate above 16% during the same period.

"The unemployment rate among our youth is already troubling. That is why it is important to strengthen our technical education and the availability of alternative learning system that would hone the in-demand skills in the labor sector," Senator Villanueva noted.

He added that more people must be able to access these opportunities.

"We have shown during our time in TESDA that technical education improves the employability of our workers. We need to strengthen it and make it more accessible. More budget should also be allocated to education and human resource development," said Senator Villanueva, former secretary of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Another issue is the country's real wage rate. The growth in real wage rate is among the lowest in the region, second to Singapore. World bank studies show that the growth in real wage rate in the Philippines is at an average of 1% from 2010 to 2015, only a bit higher than Singapore which saw an average annual increase of 0.8% in the same period.

The study also goes to show that the rapid GDP growth did not translate to a tantamount increase in the purchasing value of wages despite the Philippines' recorded GDP growth at an average of 6.3% annually from 2010 to 2013.

"To address the rising cost of labor, I am planning to file a resolution that would look into the feasibility of telecommuting. The purpose of which is to allow work flexibility which based on academic studies can actually increase productivity of workers, reduce the negative impact of traffic and support the work-life balance of our workers.

The senator is also studying the possibility of adjusting the minimum wage.

"It is high time for our workers to reap the fruits of our economic growth. Progress can only be felt when our hardworking laborers can afford to have adequate food on their table and enough money to save up for their future needs. Indeed, a lot of work has to be done in both Houses of Congress," Villanueva said.

News Latest News Feed