11-M Filipinos jobless in ’09–economist

By Thea Alberto
First Posted 14:23:00 01/02/2009

MANILA, Philippines — As the global economic crunch is expected to fully hit the country in 2009, at least 11 million Filipinos will lose their jobs, an economist said Friday.

In his forecast, former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno said millions of Filipinos would either go unemployed or be underemployed as the export sector would continue to slow down.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque had admitted that there would be job losses although not on a massive scale.

“Unemployment will worsen, like those in the manufacturing, telecommunications, and banking,” Diokno told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.

Diokno also noted that aside from the worsening labor situation, unemployment would increase because of the additional 1.5 million Filipinos who would be graduating from college this year and joining the labor force.

However, construction activities will hopefully continue to provide jobs, he said.

And as with previous reports, Diokno said jobs abroad would also be definitely affected by the crisis and more overseas Filipino workers would be expected to come home, especially domestic helpers, skilled workers, and medical personnel.

“Workers will continue to struggle,” said Diokno, noting that it will also not be a good time to ask for a raise.

“In an event, the supply for jobs is high and the demand is low and you ask for a raise, the usual move of employers is babaratin ka sa presyo [they will be stingy] or even fire employees,” added Diokno.

This early, employees must also start learning new skills as certain “jobs and industries will evaporate.”

He said if you were working in a bank but the industry was shaky, anticipate what kind of new jobs would emerge and equip yourself with the necessary skills.

Meanwhile, Diokno said he expects growth this year to be at 3 percent vis a vis an expected 4.6 percent for 2008. He added inflation was expected to be at 7 percent with food prices to go up by 10 percent.

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