By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Joel Villanueva highlighted the importance of
creating regular, sustainable jobs under the government’s National
Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS), saying that data presented by the
labor department on Monday only scratched the surface of the massive
unemployment triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While 780,119 jobs were created from the NERS Action Agenda as
reported by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Villanueva
pointed out that three of the seven programs cited in the report
merely generated short-term employment.
“Upon closer inspection of the report, the programs included the
Government Internship Program (GIP), the Special Program for
Employment of Students (SPES), and Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating
Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD). These are merely short-term
employment, and not really new regular employment opportunities,” said
Villanueva, chairman of the Senate labor committee, at the DOLE budget
briefing on Monday.
“Kaya po matagal na natin hinihiling na gumawa ng scorecard ng
trabahong nalilikha sa ilalim ng NERS. Gumawa po tayo ng talaan kung
anong manggagawa ang kailangan ng industriya, at nasaan ang mga ito.
We’ve sought clarification from DOLE to specify how many jobs were
actually created under NERS since June this year,” explained
“Our displaced and disadvantaged workers need emergency employment.
However, what they need and desire is stable and dependable regular
employment,” continued the lawmaker, who is set to sponsor the labor
department’s budget proposal in plenary as vice chair of the Senate
Villanueva explained that the GIP, SPES, and TUPAD programs only
served as temporary employment opportunities for beneficiaries.
GIP is a three-to-six month internship program open for high school,
tech-voc or college students who intend to pursue a career in
government, according to the DOLE website.
On the other hand, SPES is “DOLE’s youth employment-bridging program
which aims to provide temporary employment to poor but deserving
students, out-of-school youth, and dependents of displaced or would-be
displaced workers … to augment the family’s income to help ensure
that beneficiaries are able to pursue their education.”
TUPAD is the government’s emergency employment program “for displaced
workers, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of
10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days, depending on the
nature of work to be performed,” according to the DOLE website.
Villanueva pressed the department to account for the jobs created
under NERS so that efforts to spur employment are monitored closely.
“I know that NERS is an inter-agency or whole of government initiative
but let us reach for our targets, specifically for DOLE. Ilan po ba
ang malilikhang mga bagong trabaho ng ahensya? Ilan po kada
industriya? Ilan po kada rehiyon? Ilan po kada probinsya?” Villanueva
said. “Kwentas klaras po sana para hindi “false hope” ang maiparating
natin sa ating mga kababayan.”
“It is important to emphasize the crucial role of our offices not only
in employment recovery but in job creation. Hindi lang po pagsalba ng
trabaho, hindi lang po panandaliang trabaho, kundi paglikha po ng
matatag at pangmatagalang trabaho ang trabaho natin,” Villanueva said.
Unemployment in August reached 8.1 percent or about 3.88 million,
while underemployment is 14.7 percent or around 6.48 million. (ai/mtvn)