590,000 Filipinos at risk of losing jobs
MANILA, Philippines—Saying 2009 could be a "perilous" year, Senator Edgardo Angara said on Wednesday that close to 60,000 Filipinos could lose their jobs abroad, mostly from the United States, due to the global recession.
"If not handled correctly, the financial crisis we see today will become tomorrow’s human crisis," Angara said in his sponsorship speech for the proposed 2009 appropriations of several government agencies at the resumption of the Senate marathon hearings for the P1.4 trillion national budget for 2009.
Angara said that 590,000 of the 5.1 million overseas Filipino workers were "at risk of losing their jobs."
These include 129,000 in the US under temporary working visas, particularly those in hotels, casinos as well as agricultural workers; 48,000 seafarers in cruise ships; 268,000 factory workers in South Korea, Taiwan and Macau; 130,000 household service workers in Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong, according to the senator, chair of the Senate finance committee.
"Of this number, 50,000 to 100,00 are losing their jobs now," he said.
Angara said the shifting of the government’s spending priorities in the proposed 2009 budget "sends a clear signal that we are girding for a coming storm."
The government is targeting its 2009 spending at basic infrastructure, education and health, housing and environment.
The best way to create jobs and stimulate consumption, especially in rural areas, would be through infrastructure spending, Angara said.
He said P177 billion has been allocated for infrastructure projects for 2009, and P54 billion would be spent for direct labor.
Angara said 54,000 Filipinos would get jobs in 2009 for every P100,000-expenditure.
For these projects to start on time, Angara said the Department of Budget and Management gave its commitment to a timely bidding.
"If we fail to do this now, the outcome is stark and simple: we will fall just like Iceland, just like our neighbors in the Asian region," Angara said. Iceland declared bankruptcy due to the global financial crisis.