BOTHERED by the latest SWS survey reporting close to 10 million Filipinos jobless last September, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto warned the government against taking foreign loans requiring foreign workers in the domestic construction industry.
Recto said that it won’t be good if foreign workers will get to do jobs which Filipino workers can handle. He warned that the government should not fall into this “even if this is a condition imposed by a funder of tied loans.”
The senator said the “joblessness picture” will also impact discussions on two crucial bills – on rice tariffication and the TRABAHO measure – as many sectors have expressed concerns that the two will trigger job losses.
He also called on government to attach a “jobs odometer” to the P3.757 trillion 2019 national budget and pursue other measures to reduce unemployment. He said that the economic managers should be able “to run the numbers on how many jobs a P3.7 trillion spending will create.”
“We need to calculate this for many reasons—we have to ready the workforce required, and identify other job generators,” Recto said.
Next year’s budget earmarks P776.08 billion for capital outlay, with P531.86 billion to be spent by the DPWH, mostly for roads, bridges and buildings, and P51.75 billion by the DoTR for rail, ports and other transportation facilities.
Not included in this count are projects funded under the PPP mode, and some projects funded wholly or partly by foreign loans and grants.
In the case of so-called “tied loans” in which preferences by the funder are institutionalized in loan contracts, government should reject ones with “high imported labor content,” Recto said.
“Any bias against local labor should not be accepted. We have many returning OFWs who can fill the slots and do the job. No loan should discriminate against Filipino talent. We should insist on a hire local policy,” Recto said.
Recto said the jobs will likewise influence the shaping of the rice tariffication and TRABAHO bills.