PASAY CITY – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano has proposed a 3-in-1 solution through the development of construction cooperatives and the funding of labor-intensive infrastructure and agricultural projects to be implemented by the said cooperatives as a means to address the problem of jobless growth plaguing the country.
Cayetano explained that these infrastructure projects will include irrigation systems, farm to market roads and the like.
This proposal came after the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) released a report that revealed that agriculture posted the most significant drop in job generation, pushing the jobless rate up to 7.5 percent in April of this year.
Cayetano pointed out that with 31 percent of Filipinos engaged in agriculture, any decrease in jobs in the sector would translate to a number of lost employment opportunities for the people, especially in the rural areas.
“Thirty-one percent is a big number. And if you look at the poverty incidence report of the National Statistics and Coordination Board (NSCB), you would see that a big percentage of this is among the poorest in the country. Poverty incidence among our fishermen is 41.4 percent, while it is 36.7 percent for our farmers,” he said.
Cayetano explained that in lieu of capital, the government will lend construction equipment and provide construction materials while the labor and entrepreneurship aspect will be provided by the cooperative with the profit distributed to the its members.
“This solution is 3-in-1 because (1) the agricultural sector is given a boost in helping farmers be more productive; (2) more jobs are created in the agricultural sector; and (3) the more jobs that are created because of the labor-intensive nature of agriculture and construction, the more the profits will go to farmers and construction workers and cooperative members instead of to the contractors,” he said.
Cayetano said that in highly urbanized areas, small infrastructure projects can be assigned to such cooperatives such as the construction of basketball courts, waiting sheds, minor building repairs, pathways and the like.
In this light, Cayetano called for the collaboration of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) to pilot such projects nationwide to help the 7.8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth trickle down to all poor Filipino families especially in the rural areas.
“The economy is on the right direction we just have to innovate and intervene to make the trickle down effect faster by creating jobs,” he said as part of his PTK (Presyo, Trabaho, Kita) legislative agenda and commitment to help end the problem of high prices, lack of jobs, and low income plaguing Filipino families at present. (Gelo Villar (0917.803.1918)