THE mushrooming number of jobless Filipinos, many of them displaced by the raging COVID-19 pandemic, provides a major challenge for concerned government authorities.
The issue of joblessness, together with the underemployment problem, is a potent factor that adversely affects government efforts to hasten our socio-economic development.
In fact, alarming, saddening and disturbing are reports that more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), notably seafarers, still run the risk of losing their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Likewise, locally-employed workers face retrenchment after employers find it difficult to resume operations due to the many restrictions imposed by government authorities.
In imposing these restrictions, the government wants to ensure the health and safety of everybody, notably the employees and the public, while there’s still no vaccine against the virus.
We, thus, commend Sen. Win Gatchalian for urging the government to protect and promote the interest of jobless Filipino workers before it considers opening the job market to foreigners.
Gatchalian had earlier received reports that some foreign embassies in Manila have reportedly requested that the country’s travel restrictions for foreign workers should be eased.
Gatchalian, vice chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs, said 7.3 million Filipinos are now jobless, citing the April 2020 Labor Force Survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
We share Gatchalian’s view that the government ought to give priority to our countrymen “pagdating sa oportunidad ng trabaho kaysa ibigay ang pagkakataon sa mga dayuhan.”
The increasing number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos must be addressed now – and fast.