Mulat Pinoy Kapihan Session on Employment: When I grow up, I want to be…

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Bayani Fernando came prepared, with props!

By Liwliwa Malabed

I remember when I was a kid, I loved roleplaying. I was always someone else every minute. And when was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always something different. I guess not much has changed as I pose the same question to my nephews and watch to them role play. Children are still eager to grow up and “work” like daddy or mommy.

It got me thinking: growing up and finding work is not as nice a prospect now as it was when we were kids. Not in our country, anyway. In the Philippines, almost 3 million Filipinos are unemployed while over 7 million are underemployed. Although a labor survey by NSO early this year showed that unemployment went down from 7.7 to 7.3%, it still means there are still at least 3 million families dealing with financial instability. The survey also shows that the underemployment rate has increased to 19.7%, from 18.2% of last year.

Bagumbayan vice presidential bet Bayani Fernando

Mulat Pinoy’s Kapihan Session on March 27, at Bo’s Coffee, Glorietta 5, Makati City, delved into the nitty-gritty of employment and labor force migration. Bagumbayan VP candidate Bayani Fernando and LP senatorial bet Yasmin Lao discussed their thoughts and programs for employment, while John Clements CEO Carol Dominguez, former PRC chair Dr. Leonor Tripon Rosero and Dr. Zelda Zablan of UPPI shared their views and experiences.

Carol Dominguez debunked the assumption that there is a vacuum in employment opportunities, saying that there are many jobs in the country but many Filipinos are not qualified for these available jobs. Dominguez further explained that jobs should match skills. She emphasized that you should be in a job that fits your skills, so that you can properly utilize them.

Carol Dominguez, CEO of John Clements Consultants, Inc.

Dr. Leonor Tripon Rosero advised incoming college students to explore other career options. Dr. Zelda Zablan expounded on rural migration, saying that the influx of people in urban areas for employment results in displacement from the countryside. She therefore urges the government to increase productivity in the country before we even think of exporting our labor force overseas. Dr. Zablan asserts that increasing productivity from within increases our competitiveness globally. But she did have this to say about regulating our population: “If we have a lot more people, we don’t have enough resources to produce more capital.”

Bagumbayan vice presidential candidate Bayani Fernando emphasized that employment depends on productivity. For him, everything is measured by productivity, saying that we are poor because we are unproductive. “We never had a culture of productivity. We don’t even have a Tagalog word for it,” Bayani shared. For him, when a person is not doing his job, he is fired. “The ‘culture of awa’ is not good for us,” he added. In terms of population and urbanization, Bayani thinks that the number of people in Manila is okay as long as they are all productive. “Technology will help us,” he said.

Liberal Party senatorial candidate Yasmin Lao

LP senatorial bet Yasmin Lao, on the other hand, traced employment woes to the poor quality of education. “There is a need to elevate the quality of education, textbooks and instruction,” she explained. Lao further lamented the fact that kids in Manila spend only four hours in the classroom due to the 2-3 shifts-per-day scheme in public schools.

“Students nowadays don’t have the choice of pursuing the course they want,” she adds. For Lao, one should study to improve the self, for the total development of the person and not just for financial stability. Her position on population is clear: we must regulate population and address important issues of population and development. She cited the high infant and maternal mortality at ARMM, saying that access to information and services is of primal importance.

Former PRC Chairperson Dr. Leonor Tripon Rosero and UPPI's Dr Zelda Zablan

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