YEAR after year, millions of Filipino graduates end up jobless. Their last hurrah in the glorious graduation ceremonies really becomes their last, for economic crises, political instability and now, global terror, rob them of the opportunities for employment.

In a recent Business World report, the Labor Force Survey (LFS) conducted by the National Statistics Office last January shows that job creation declined until early this year, with the unemployment rate rising up to 10.3 percent. The January rate is higher than the 9.8 percent of the LFS October survey, although that is an improvement from January 2001’s 11.3 percent.

Worse, the LFS, which is done four times a year, also saw an increased jobless rate by this month. The jobless rate will be higher than 10. 3 percent, as fresh graduates join the labor wagon.

The employed also increased by 5.7 percent. We now have almost 29.7 million workers.

The government seems to have lost control of its employment programs. It has been busy with so many things, such as the sudden dip of the President’s ratings in the Social Weather Stations survey, the unending all-out war waged against the Abu Sayaff, Balikatan, the unfinished chapter of Erap, and petty squabbles here and there. Instead of promoting her “motherly image” with distasteful TV advertising, the President should redirect her energies towards “mothering” the unemployed. The signs are everywhere—Filipinos are getting tired of the usual political antics and photo sessions.

The government must get its act together. It should review the vision of the President in her last State of the Nation Address, which seeks to uplift Filipinos and give jobs to everyone. Doing the “Erap” way of sustaining the attention and support of the masses has definitely been a waste of time.

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With job-hunting becoming a great ordeal nowadays, the government and the private sector must explore the business possibilities of the million-dollar investments promised to President Macapagal-Arroyo during her working visits abroad to create more jobs, fast. The President may urge Congress to study ways of creating jobs and filing legislations accordingly. Job promotion and business enhancement must be the order of the day, not self-publicity and gimmickry.

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