Can politicians really solve unemployment problems?

DIRECT FROM THE LABOR FRONT - Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - April 21, 2013 - 12:00am

If we listen to, and believe in the politicians today, who are wooing our votes, everything is under control. They can solve the poverty problem, the population issue, the problems on the environment, foreign relations, health, education, housing and the surges in crimes, drugs and gambling. They have the will and the way. With much flair and drama, they make themselves appear as if they are really concerned and determined to make this country better, richer and happier. And they sound like they are omnipotent and omnipresent. They can even abolish typhoons, earthquakes and floods. They are descended gods from Mount Olympus with a magic wand to obliterate all human woes that beset a country of 103 million people, and with 3 million unemployed and 10 million underemployed.

Promises, promises, of course, in politics, these are all politics. We have always trusted these politicians. In our sober moments, however, when we are not drunk, nor drugged by the magic of their gobbledygook, we come to the hard realities, that after the elections, we shall be left alone again, holding the empty bag and having to nurse our own broken hearts. The brokenness of having been taken for a ride once more, and the deep anguish that, for one more time, we have allowed ourselves to be hoodwinked again, by these selfish and self-centered people, who truly love and care for no one else but themselves, their family dynasties and their interests to protect, their prestige to perpetuate and their billions to hide from the eyes of the BIR and the Ombudsman.

They cannot fool all the people all the time. For, as the sage wrote: "If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, then chapels would have been churches, and poor men's cottages, princes' palaces." Let us take, for instance, a very practical and nagging issue: UNEMPLOYMENT. What have the politicians done and what can they do to address the unemployment issue? If they are senators and congressmen, or wives and husbands of these legislators, what legislative measures have they or their spouses authored, pushed for approval and finally legislated into law on this single jugular issue of lack of sufficient jobs in the domestic labor markets?

If they are governors or mayors, what local initiatives have they undertaken to improve the unemployment and underemployment situation in their local government units? Are they even aware of their total population, their labor force, the ratio of employed to the unemployed, the numbers of underemployed? Are they only interested in number of voters? What programs of local governments are geared towards making their provinces, cities and municipalities more attractive to investments in agriculture, tourism, trade, services and other industries? Do they have a concrete long-term plans, medium-term plans, and short term-plans for job creation, job enhancement and job preservation in their localities?

May I challenge all incumbent politicians in Cebu to present to the people two simple documents: the first, to show the employment situation when they assumed office and the current one, how many new jobs were created in their territories and how many new job entrants were hired during their term, and what were their real contribution to bringing all these about. The second document should show their employment master plan, long-term, medium term, and short term. If they cannot present these, they are just trying to fool the people again.

The people are sick and tired of being used, abused, exploited, neglected and being fooled all the time. They, especially the young and concerned Filipinos, the new graduates who are about to enter the job markets, can no longer be misled and hoodwinked by callous politicians who make the country their milking cow, who treat their provinces, cities and districts as their own family corporations. The young voters who constitute the tipping point in the coming polls, are really angry at those ''trapos'', who put their daughters and sons in seats of powers, who send themselves and their wives to Congress by buying votes, and by promising the stars and the moon to millions of jobless, homeless, hopeless poor. How can they deliver the stars when they do not even have a decent agenda on how to solve the basic problem of joblessness?


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