Reference: Mr Sonny Africa (IBON executive director) | The Philippines’ average economic growth is reportedly higher than some Southeast Asian countries but at the same time, it also has the worst unemployment rates in the region. According to research group IBON, this only further highlights the exclusionary character of the country’s growth.
In reporting the second quarter growth of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the government reported that this was higher than the preliminary average growth of the region (at 4.7%) and faster than that of Malaysia (5.4%), Thailand (4.2%), Vietnam (4.4%), Singapore (2.0%), although lower than of Indonesia (6.4%) and China (7.8%).
The latest full year data however show that Philippine unemployment, even according to underestimated official figures, is the worst in Southeast Asia and more than double the regional average. The country’s unemployment rate of 7% in 2011 was more than double the regional average of 3.2% and higher than in Indonesia (6.6%), Myanmar (4.0%), Malaysia (3.1%), Singapore (2.7%), Brunei (2.6%), Vietnam (2.0%), Cambodia (1.7%), Lao (1.4%) and Thailand (0.7%).
According to IBON, the country’s unemployment crisis will remain unresolved without a genuine thrust to develop Filipino manufacturing and domestic agriculture. Unfortunately the government persists in promoting low employment and low value-added sectors such as business process outsourcing (BPO), mining, tourism, enclave manufacturing for export, and cheap labor export. These are sectors where foreign investors and economies benefit disproportionately more than Filipinos, IBON said. (end)
IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.