Sunday, February 26, 2012

PhilippinesEconomics: Downturn: Increases migrant and transient poverty


Unemployment drives Pinoys' migration

Catholic bishops in the Philippines have taken notice of how joblessness drives many Filipinos "to look for jobs abroad."

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) issued the statement in the observance of National Migrants' Sunday.

The information comes with a careful study that examines four factors of joblessness in this country of innumerable islands:  1.)  unemployment; 2.) underemployment; 3.) labor contractualizaion; and 4.) low wages.  The problems are so severe for so many people that together they function to prohibit the formation of the basics of work-community and the participation of individual workers in authentic work-communities recedes as a prospect never to be experienced in their life-t+mz.  So, speaking generally, "Filipinos are not encouraged to stay put" and, thus, "are taking opportunities to work abroad to improve their living conditions."  

The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines says it "coud not wait for the government to create more jobs to meet the mounting number of new graduates each year who may join the ranks of the unemployed," some of them entering those ranks immediately upon graduating from h+school or university. Apparently, neither the nation's businesses nor the government can create sufficient new jobs each year fast enuff to absorb even the college-educated graduates who are looking for a first full-t+m job.  Yet, "the proportion of families considered consistently poor based on family and expenditure, has not significantly changed in the country."

This suggests an (un)employment stagnation, but one in which a downward pressure is exerted on income-levels becawz there's an over-supply of educated woud-be workers, who must compete against one another for suitable work, a limited number of jobs where such work and income-level can be obtained.  Unskilled manual labourers seek work at the lowest levels of the income-scale; this has a certain stability to it.  Certain employers depend on this stablity, so that when they need new hands, they have ease of communicating that need to a stable pool of ready-for work persons for the most difficult of tasks.  The problem, then, is the absorption of new workers ready for work after completion of their schooling (h+school, technical school,  and university).  This absorption year after year simply does not take place; the necessary new jobs have not been created.  So, the young new workers move about within the country (transcience) or look abroad for jobs for which their advanced education has prepared them.  North America and Australia, of course, has traditionally absorbed certain of these emerging cohorts each year; the h+ring abroad of graduating Filipina nurses is a true stereotype, subject to yearly variations in the actual scale of numbers of those involved.  Saudi Arabia is another case of virtual export/import of new Filipino labour from the h+school completers and non-completers. However, Saudiland is structurely hostile to the presence of the non-Muslim lower-class workers from the Philippines who seek jobs in competition especially with numerically larger levels of job-seekers from India, in particular.  

The Filipino/a diaspora also has the problem of culture shock, which in Saudi Arabia includes the repression especially of Christians in the workforce as a result of their being imported into this Arab countryt's severe restrictions on religous expression.  Boredom is a constant companion of Filipinos/as in these situations, and religous gathering and activities are a major way in which displaced workers can overcome to some extent the conditions in which they not only work, but more broadly work, 

EconoMix, refwrite Frontpage economics and business columnist
Resource:  Manila Bulletin via Yahoo! News Philippines (Feb25,2k12)

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