Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dutertenomics Won't Cause OFWs to Return En Masse

"Dutertenomics" is president Duterte's "5-year plan" to turn around the economy of the Philippines and bring the nation up to a middle level income.  It is an ambitious plan.  Perhaps TOO ambitious.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Monday said the Duterte government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure campaign will generate no less than 12 million new jobs over the next 5 years. 
"They call it golden age Build, Build, Build means golden age of Jobs, Jobs and Jobs," he said. 
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Chief Ernesto Pernia, however, clarified the infrastructure boost will add more than 1 million new jobs to the usual 1 million jobs created per year, resulting in 12 million jobs for the 6 years of the Duterte administration.  
Bello shared, most of the new jobs will be in the field of manufacturing and construction, including carpenters, welders, plumbers, and electricians.  
"This will also address the final goal of the President, to repatriate Filipinos who are now in different parts of the world…. The President wants to provide jobs with decent pay so eventually, all Filipino workers will come back,” he said.  
There are an estimated 10 to 12-million Filipinos overseas, a tenth of the Philippines' total population.

12 million jobs!

Bringing all OFW's home!

But wait a second:
Bello shared, most of the new jobs will be in the field of manufacturing and construction, including carpenters, welders, plumbers, and electricians.  
This statical table from the 2015 OFW survey tells us that the majority of OFW's are female unskilled labourers. Are these unskilled ladies going to rush home to take part in the promised construction  boom which needs "carpenters, welders, plumbers, and electricians?"

How about all the professionals, service workers, farmers, technicians, nurses, and white-collar government workers? Will they be rushing back to the Philippines to take part in the construction boom?

Will anyone be rushing home to the Philippines so they can work long days earning a currency that is worth less than what they are currently earning elsewhere?

Will anyone be rushing back from the comforts of the first world to deal with the corrupt third world that is the Philippines?

And for those that do return to take part in the construction boom, what happens after the construction is over?  The jobs will be no more and they will be forced to go back to being an OFW or to being idle and broke.

OFW's send BILLIONS of pesos to the Philippines each year.  Is that something Duterte really wants to stop?  Does any family member want to see an end to the regular flow of cash and "pasalubongs?" Plenty of sons and daughters are working hard to support their sick parents or to help their family in some way. And many of those people have their own families to support in their new country. "Utang na loob" is a way of life in the Philippines.

The statistical table shows that there are 2,377,000 OFWs so where does ABS-CBN pull the 10 - 12 million figure? And even if there were 12 million OFWs to fill 12 million jobs what about all the unemployed workers here already?  Having OFWs come home to fill jobs Filipinos already in the country can fill is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

What about Dutere's plan to build hospitals for OFWs in the Middle East?  How can he be said to desire the repatriation of all OFWs when he wants to build OFWs in the Middle East a hospital to cater to their needs?

Dutertenomics' plan to save the economy is ambitious. With the right planning and with an honest bureaucracy that will not plunder the funds it could work. Anything is possible.

But the Duterte administration needs to be realistic. Whatever the amount of jobs a construction boom will create they will all be temporary and they will all need highly skilled workers.

And most importantly these jobs will not bring all the OFWs home. 

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