Tuesday, September 23, 2014
MANILA-Senator Sonny Angara has stressed the need to expand and strengthen the network of the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) to address the persistent issue of unemployment in the country, especially in the rural areas.
Angara, the acting chair of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources, on Tuesday delivered a sponsorship speech on Senate Bill No. 1386, which seeks to amend Republic Act 8759 or the Public Employment Service Act of 1999.
"The policies that govern our PESOs must be fine-tuned and improved—the very objective of the measure we are sponsoring today, as originally pushed and authored by Senator Jinggoy Estrada," he said.
The PESO law was enacted to create PESOs across strategic areas in the country to serve as a venue for Filipinos to explore employment opportunities and other labor market information. It also provides for training activities, certification tests, career guidance, and job referral services.
To date, there are PESOs in 75 provinces, 142 cities, and 1,374 municipalities in the country.
Collectively, PESOs may be credited for up to 4.45 million job placements between 2010 and 2013.
"We saw how these offices become instrumental in minimizing unemployment and underemployment. The success of select PESOs should be replicated in more areas of the country. We want each local government unit (LGU) to have its own PESO," Angara said.
SB 1386 seeks to create PESOs in all provinces, municipalities, cities and other strategic areas throughout the country, and to ensure their continued operation and sustainability through the support of the LGUs and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The proposed measure also mandates PESOs to form a national network for the generation of labor market information to allow for more efficient, effective, timely gathering, processing and dissemination down to the grass roots level.
"Sa madaling salita, pinapatibay ng panukalang batas ang PESO bilang katuwang ng DOLE sa lokal para sa paghahain ng employment facilitation services. Ang PESO rin ang magiging pangunahing opisina sa ilalim ng lahat ng LGU na tututok para intindihin at hanapan ng solusyon ang mga isyung may kinalaman sa labor market," he said.
Based on the April 2014 Labor Force Survey, 2.9 million Filipinos are unemployed while seven million are underemployed.
The survey further showed that 62 percent or around 1.8 million of the unemployed had a high school diploma, a post-secondary certificate or a bachelor’s degree.
"Ironically, even our graduates are hounded by joblessness. According to studies, it can take 18 months up to two years before new college graduates can land a job," the senator said.
In addition, according to DOLE, one out of every four job vacancies are considered hard-to-fill or openings that either have too few applicants or those that attract a large number of applicants but are unqualified for the job.
"The prevalence of jobs-skills mismatch in the country is very alarming. I can't stress enough the need for us to create more and better jobs not only for the 10 million Filipinos who are either unemployed or underemployed, but more so for the thousands of young Filipinos who enter our labor force every year," he added.
"Sa kabila ng ating malakas na ekonomiya, marami pa rin ang naiiwan sa kahirapan at kawalan ng trabaho. Kaya marapat na i-arangkada pa lalo ang mga proyekto’t polisiya ng gobyerno para tulungan ang bawat mamamayan upang makahanap ng trabaho. Malaki ang maitutulong ng pag-amyenda sa PESO law sa adhikaing ito," concluded Angara.
ALIAGA, Nueva Ecija – A Regional Trial Court (RTC) unseated here on Monday incumbent Mayor Elizabeth Vargas and installed her rival, businessman Reynaldo Ordanes as the duly elected winner in the May 2013 elections, ending the Vargas’ 22-year stranglehold in this town amid the former’s alleged refusal to vacate her post in the municipal hall.
Ordanes, an ally of the Joson’s Nationalist People’s Coalition, was installed after Cabanatuan City RTC Branch 30 deputy sheriff Victoria Roque served the writ of execution issued by Judge Virgilio Caballero to Vargas at the town hall where she holed herself since last week.
Ordanes is the brother of Quezon City assessor Rodolfo Ordanes.
Vargas, a four-term mayor and wife of former three-term mayor Marcial Vargas, was proclaimed winner by the municipal board of canvassers last year, garnering 11,477 votes to Ordanes’ 11,413, or a scant margin of 64 votes.
However, Ordanes filed an election protest before the RTC which examined the votes.
Last May 28, the court voided 72 of Vargas’ votes. It also ruled that three of Ordanes’ votes, which were rejected by the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines , were valid, bringing his vote total to 11,416 while Vargas’ votes were reduced to 11,405 votes after the 72 votes were deducted from her tally, prompting the court to declare Ordanes winner by a plurality of 11 votes.
On June 19, the court issued a writ of execution of its decision pending appeal but it was withheld on July 15 after the Commission on Elections issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining it to cease and desist from enforcing its order for a 60-day period.
The TRO expired last September 16, prompting the court to issue another order dated September 17 implementing the writ.
“To date, no restraining order is issued by the higher authority and therefore the writ of execution pending appeal to enforce the said decision on June 19, 2014 is now effective,” the court said.
In its September 17 order, the court said Vargas has not produced any evidence to defend her position.
Ordanes, who took his oath last Friday before Quezon City RTC Judge Jose Paneda, said he will temporarily hold office in his house near the town hall while Vargas is still occupying the mayor’s office to avert any untoward incident.
He was accompanied by his running mate, Vice Mayor Alfredo Domingo and throngs of wildly cheering, loyal supporters.
“We don’t want any trouble. What we want is peace in Aliaga because I love our townmates,” Ordanes said as he appealed to Vargas to peacefully step down from her post to effect a smooth transition.
He said he believed in the rule of law and would await for the Department of the Interior and Local Governments to step in.
Vargas has refused to come out of the mayor’s office. Reporters trying to gain entry in her office were barred from doing so.
But municipal administrator Emmanuel San Juan said they will abide by the legal processes and will respect the DILG directive. (Manny Galvez)