Monday, May 3, 2010

Why Tourism Service Industry and Labor Export and not Industrialization for utilizing Agricultural goods (and for generating jobs)?

Why Tourism, Service Industry and Labor Export
and not Industrialization for utilizing agricultural goods

(and for generating jobs)?
by Katleah Iskre Ulrike

Last may 2, I read an article on the Inquirer on "How they'll generate jobs" courtesy of the Presidential candidates this coming elections. And their words? Simple: Simply advocating much in tourism, some in agriculture and in in the light industry what the Foreign interest advocated.

As I read their replies, it seems that most of them didn't include advocating heavy industry as part of generating jobs and utilizing agricultural goods in the Philippines.

And according to the words of these so-called "Presidentables":

"THE NO. 1 ITEM IN OUR Platform is job generation. The theory is we could increase the quality and remuneration of jobs available here. It might not match those in other countries but with the added benefit of having your family and you are a first-class citizen here. We might have enough people who will decide to stay.

We want something like (US President Franklin) Roosevelt’s job creation program—building schools or public works projects with a big labor bias. If the project will not be delayed and it’s OK cost-wise, then we will choose a labor-intensive program.

We have so many areas that have a big potential like the BPO sector, IT and agriculture, particularly post-harvest production. Agriculture can be subdivided [into subsectors]. There are also many others that have not been exploited like fruits, [which can be processed into] fruit juices.

My understanding of the law is that the state cannot make it a policy to export our workers. Nevertheless, I want to make sure that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and our embassies and consulates really help all our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

A very significant portion of the population are OFWs outside the country. So the main point is that if they leave, it’s because they want to and not because they have to."

-Benigno Aquino III
Liberal Party

"WORK IS A WAY OF FULFILLing part of our human potential given to us by God. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers, owners and managers must be respected—the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to economic initiative, and to ownership and private property.

Ang Kapatiran shall ensure rapid and sustained economic growth for sustainable poverty reduction and better quality of life for all by:

Reviewing and rationalizing all outstanding public debts and limiting future government borrowings within the growth level of our exports or GDP;

Raising private and public savings rates to increase total investment rate;

Enhancing investments in human resource development, especially by strengthening education in the sciences, mathematics, engineering and English;

Streamlining government bureaucracy to reduce personnel expenditures;

Drastically improving tax administration and revenue collection;

Abolishing laws, rules and regulations that give government revenue personnel the discretion to allow or disallow certain deductions or exemptions;

Prioritizing agricultural development to attain a high degree of self-sufficiency by encouraging productivity through the introduction of new technologies and support-infrastructure;

Creating microfinance and other credit
facilities for small enterprises by harnessing OFW remittances and more exports for economic development;

Encouraging livelihood through the formation of cooperatives and other small enterprises and development programs to alleviate poverty in the grassroots level;

Implementing the agrarian reform program;

Promoting industrialization by encouraging the expansion of useful industries, including telecommunications and information technology;

Attaining a stable balance of trade by encouraging the development of new export products and improving existing ones.

In summary, Ang Kapatiran shall work for a “job-filled society”—industrialization for the economic well-being of all, agricultural development, microfinance and other credit facilities for small- and medium-enterprises, and positive investment climate to reverse the outflow of OFWs."

-JC de los Reyes
Ang Kapatiran

"WE WILL GET RID OF THE secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the New People’s Army (NPA). So we will start developing the countryside. Right now, the government cannot develop the countryside.

In the early ’50s and ’60s, informal settlers or squatters were concentrated in Metro Manila. Today, in all urban areas, there are squatters because the countryside remains undeveloped. There’s the NPA. In Mindanao, there’s the MILF.

We will concentrate on services and agriculture to generate jobs. When there’s peace and order, there’ll no longer be [adverse] travel advisories from other countries. We will improve our tourism.

We cannot stop the export of labor soon. Maybe within two to three years. It will take time to generate jobs. Like for example, during my time, if you will remember we planned to change the economic provisions of the Constitution so that we can generate jobs.

We will allow foreigners to own land here except agricultural land. If we allow foreigners to own land they can compete with our local realtors and once (they own land) they will develop that. Once they develop that, it will generate jobs."

-Joseph Estrada
Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino

"WE HAVE NATURAL TRAITS and skills for tourism. We can be the beach capital of the world. We have enough airports already. Our problem is we have to do some policy on certain airports to be declared “open skies.” Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam have open skies.

The educational system is producing many hotel and restaurant management graduates. That is the future. Because of the tourism law which I authored, we can now invite more investors to build establishments without overtaxing the environment.

We can spread out hotels. Tourists will not want to go to Boracay every year. They want to go to new destinations. Our graduates can be tuned into tourism and entrepreneurship. But our education must also leapfrog to information technology. So you will want more software development.

We may have to export labor for a while, but we will encourage enhancing labor skills. I am not going to send a maid. I am going to send a governess. There is a value added.

We also have to make sure that we harness savings instead of encouraging a consumption-based economy. We will have a provident fund in which we are able to raise money from the savings of our overseas workers. Professional people should run the fund as they do it in Singapore."

-Richard Gordon

"MY IMMEDIATE STRATEGY is not to attract investments but to level the playing field for Filipino businessmen.

I am in favor of abolishing regressive tax breaks and imposing adequate and necessary taxes on corporations, especially multinationals.

Economic growth must not be dependent on foreign investors. If elected President, I plan to cut the country’s dependence on foreign investors.

I strongly believe that a genuine and pro-Filipino industrialization will ensure that adequate and decently paying jobs will be created and that Filipinos will no longer be pushed to migrate abroad.

Alongside this, Filipino labor must be adequately protected and nurtured through good wages, regularization of workers and defense of migrant workers’ rights.

I pledge to support adequate wage increases, including a nationwide P125 hike in daily wages across-the-board, and ban the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-dictated practice of “job flexibility,” contractualization and agency hiring, and heavily punishing perpetrators of these unfair labor practices.

I also pledge to defend civil rights and civilian supremacy, including workers’ rights to free expression and assembly and organizing unions.

I plan to impose heavy penalties on erring firms, as well as government personnel engaged in the dismissal and harassment of unionists and quelling protest actions.

Job security should be safeguarded by scrapping the IMF and World Bank policies of privatization of state-run corporations, services and assets."

-Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal

"THE WHOLE QUESTION OF OFWs is deeply connected with poverty. To address poverty in a significant way, you have to develop massive programs of agriculture modernization in a sustainable manner because 70 percent of the poor are in the rural areas. If we do massive agriculture modernization, including linking strategic industries where agriculture provides the raw materials like food industries, and chemical engineering industries, then we will generate millions of jobs.

If we develop the purchasing power of the poor in the rural areas, then that purchasing power can enable industries and services in the urban centers to be created and to be successful.

If we commercialize the many existing technologies in state universities and colleges like the use of mung bean as a substitute for soybean. That’s an industry itself in the billions. Mung beans are drought-resistant. It doesn’t require chemical fertilizers. It grows after rice. You can create all kinds of secondary industries based on the mung bean, the way you’ve created the soy-sauce industry.

Ecotourism will also be very important.

The more the city progresses, the more (the people) are able to find all kinds of jobs. For example, recycling industries, making the recycling more scientific, less of a health hazard. Then upgrading of skills, for example in auto repair, all kinds of secondary repairs of computers.

I will not encourage the export of labor. When we curb corruption and we have a clean government, we’re going to see billions of dollars of investments pouring in because investors know that there’s a level playing field. And we’ll encourage the massive influx of green technologies in the energy, agriculture and all the sectors of industries."

-Nicanor Perlas

"IT’S A FUNCTION OF CONFIDENCE in your government by the private sector. You have to have investor-friendly policies, not though at the expense of trampling upon the legitimate rights of labor. For example, rampant contractualization. Maybe if it’s a start-up industry, or something that needs to get off its feet, fine. But if it’s a practice already used time and time again, it’s a violation of labor rights.

Right to security of tenure and quality jobs. You will have to have strong investment policies, strong synergy with the local government—reward those that have investment-friendly policies, and have a good working relationship with labor so that the government stays right in the middle.

One of the worst disincentives to investments is the high cost of power. We’ll have to find a solution in the long run.

I’d like to look for long-term, quality jobs. In tourism for example, you need quality jobs because you have to train workers for a very long time. In medical tourism, we need skilled workers, too. Health care, the HMOs, because of universal participative health care, you get good jobs there."

-Gilberto Teodoro Jr.

"SINCE WE’LL GO ALL OUT IN modernizing agriculture and enhancing the tourism industry, we will generate jobs because we need to construct much-needed infrastructure.

Then we will put up a national cooperative bank to give farmers and ordinary Filipinos like jeepney drivers and tricycle drivers soft loans without collateral.

We’ll encourage entrepreneurs for small- and medium-scale enterprises. They will go through a crash entrepreneurial program which will be offered nationwide by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda). We’ll overhaul Tesda so it can offer entrepreneurial courses. We’ll provide start-up capital through soft loans from cooperatives.

We will encourage the export of labor temporarily, as long as we have not accelerated the economic revolution program. Our embassies and consulates will be overhauled. Their No. 1 priority is to protect and promote the welfare of our OFWs and work to upgrade their contracts. Our embassies and consulates will serve as refugee centers. And they will also aim to create tourism opportunities and seek legitimate investors."

-Eddie Villanueva
Bangon Pilipinas

"RATIONALIZING INVESTMENT incentives both local and foreign to favor labor-intensive industries can be done.

There is a mismatch in the availability of skills and the actual manpower requirements of employers. It is one of the major problems in the labor sector. We need to guide the schools and the students to prioritize courses that will provide them with more chances of landing a job.

I have always maintained that entrepreneurship is a long-term solution to joblessness. A key part of my platform is entrepreneurial revolution. We need to create more job generators to counter the fast increasing number of jobseeking Filipinos.

We will focus on labor-intensive industries like tourism, business process outsourcing and the hospitality industry. These are key engines of economic growth.

The ultimate goal is to have ample job opportunities for Filipinos in the country so they do not need to go abroad just to get a job."

-Manuel Villar
Nacionalista Party

In assessing these words, most of them focused much on tourism and on the service industry and trying to do their best in the agricultural problem. In fact, their words somehow mirror the words of a typical bourgeois technocrat or a nail fisted landlord. Estrada, for example really insisted much in his concept of "peace and order" instead of generating jobs, Gordon preferred tourism since he's a trying hard Singaporean, Aquino, Villar, De Los Reyes, and the remains simply insist in microfinancing, on the service industry, on curbing contractualization and the like.

But then,
How come they can't push through a "National Industrialization" Scheme, especially in a predominantly agricultural country? I really notice these people insist much on tourism and babbling on agriculture with a little dash of industry-particularly on the service sector: call centers, assembly line, and the like. De Los Reyes, and Madrigal, according to some of their words in the Inquirer may have wanted heavy industry, but whom will it benefit? And so are the others who insist in "modern day" job seeking schemes that in fact, benefits the private sector, foreign investors, and the like-that making their words full of doubt.

And in addition to that, in a semicolonial, semifeudal society like the Philippines, industrialization is a hollowed phrase being said by the landlord-bureaucreats, who preferred wholesale bombardment of cheap western goods while exporting agricultural goods for their and the foreign investor's benefit and not of the people. Hacienda Luisita for example: Where are the profits coming from sugarcane planting and harvesting and even refining end up?

To a writer, insisting in absolute but desperate measures made by some hollow spoken "Presidentiables" are fruitless. They may have set of ideas, but most of it are contrary to the ideas of the 90% of the Filipino society-who wanted a genuine agricultural revolution, followed by national industrialization with an emphasis on small, medium and heavy industry, of encouraging technological modernization and the like-in short: a self reliant industry that benefits the Pilipino as according to the National Democratic Front, the group whom the government despised:

"Agriculture shall become the base of the economy, providing food and other necessities to the people as well as raw materials for industry...

With increased incomes from agricultural and non-agricultural activities, rural communities will provide an expanding market for goods produced by domestic industry. The state plan for rural industrialization shall utilize the expansion of rural markets and agricultural modernization to increase manufacturing activities in the rural areas and create greater employment opportunities there...

National industrialization shall break up the present colonial pattern of investments, production and trade based mainly on the export of agricultural and extractive raw materials, the importation of finished goods and capital, and the re-export of reassembled or repackaged imported manufactures...

The development of agriculture will make available a large amount of agricultural surplus, which used to be appropriated by a parasitic landlord class, to support the needs of industry. Agricultural growth will provide the food and raw material requirements of industry, increase the purchasing power of the rural population and thus expand the domestic market for consumer and producer goods...

the state shall ensure the balanced and well- proportioned development of heavy industry as the leading factor, agriculture as the base of the economy and light industry as the bridging factor which produces immediately basic consumer goods for the entire people and the producer goods needed by agriculture..."

To compare all of the words given, perhaps the ones they called terrorists, subversives, are the ones who had the alternative from the hollowed phrases of some "Presidentiables," save to those who may really carry out seriously and having compatibility to the basic requirements of a job filled self reliant economy.