House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) has said on Thursday, following the release of the quarterly Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that while the third quarter unemployment rate reduction to 8.7% from the previous quarter’s 17.3% signals some economic recovery, millions of Filipinos are still in need relief.
“I take it as a signal that as soon as we get the vaccine and return to the previous normal, we will recover to around 5-6% unemployment. I am still alarmed at underemployment, which stands at 14.4%. Much of that is just Filipino inventiveness – online selling, and other new cottage industries. They will not be enough to pay the rent and the bills,” Salceda said.
“For many families, underemployment at this level just means their noses are above water, but they’re not yet in a safe, dry place economically. And, of course, underemployment has little to do with actual income. You know, in the informal economy, you don’t always earn enough or at all,” the House economic recovery co-chair added.
Bayanihan III should push through
The Albay solon says that the unemployment figures signal the urgent need for one final round of stimulus measures.
“As a representative of a typhoon-ravaged province, I will tell you, we need urgent help. Our LGUs fiscal reserves are exhausted. We can no longer wait for 2021,” Salceda said.
“The House will move quickly with the stimulus measures. There is consensus in both the majority and the minority that our people should get the help they need,” Salceda added.
Salceda says his core stimulus proposals are the vaccine rollout, rental assistance, typhoon relief, local government support, and unemployment assistance.
“I am amenable to compromise with our counterparts in the Senate and our colleagues in the executive, as long as the final stimulus measure contains these core measures. But it cannot be zero. We need a third round of stimulus measures.”
The House Committee on Economic Affairs has discussed this week the Bayanihan III proposals pending in the House, including Salceda’s House Bill No. 8059, or the Bayanihan to Rebuild as One Act.
Economic recovery needs fiscal expansion.
Photo Credit: facebook.com/jose.salceda.92