Gov’t urged to optimize human capital

By end of 2016, the country’s population will reach 104 million, as 1.5 million babies will be born.

Such population growth should not worry the next administration and government planners, as it may also present many economic opportunities to help the Philippines get ahead of other economies, according to Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting.

“Our young and booming population is actually an edge we have over other countries as it provides us with a strong labor force,” he said.

The Philippines would also continue to attract foreign investments as seen in the country’s high economic growth rate versus other Asian countries, said Tambunting.

He cited the economic and social problems China, Japan and Singapore are now facing after their previous policies of limiting their populations.

China is now implementing a two-child policy, and Lee Kwan Yew had expressed regret in limiting Singapore’s population, he added.

Some countries with ageing populations have reached a point that it is almost impossible to rejuvenate their demographics, Tambunting said.

He also called for the government to take advantage of the rising population, and invest in human capital and development.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country’s unemployment rate fell to 5.7% in October 2015, the lowest in years, and beating market forecasts of 6.5%. The figure excludes the Leyte-Samar region.

The PSA said last year there were 2.37 million unemployed persons, 63.4% are males. Of the unemployed, about one-half (48%) are 15 to 24 years old, and one-third (32%) are 25 to 34 years old.

By educational attainment, less than one-half (43.6%) of the unemployed are high school graduates, about one-fifth (22.6%) are college graduates, and 13.3% are college undergraduates.

Although the unemployment figures are discouraging, Tambunting said he is still hopeful that the situation could be vastly improved if government would improve the delivery of education, social and medical services, and subsequently make young Filipinos and the labor more fit to find jobs and livelihood.

“What we need to do is focus on improving our education and health services to make sure our people are fit for the jobs coming their way,” he said.

To further enhance the country’s education and health services, the national government has earmarked for 2016 a budget of almost P437 billion from P367.1 billion last year to the Department of Education (DepEd), which received the largest share of the government’s total P3-trillion budget. The Department of Health (DOH) will receive P128.5 billion, from P87.7 billion last year. (With reports from The Philippine Star / Opinyon, Rosemarie Señora)

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Saturday, 18 January 2020
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