Lacson pushes emergency employment, food terminals to address joblessness in PH

Published October 16, 2021, 3:29 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Saturday, October 16, urged the government to come up with emergency employment programs in the Philippines to address joblessness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson (Senate of the Philippines)

In a radio interview, Lacson said making adjustments to existing policies will help the country cope with the effects of the pandemic on public health and economy.

For instance, he proposed an emergency employment program where college graduates and undergraduates can undergo internship in government offices.

“Or sa mga mas mataas ang qualification, pwedeng kausapin ang private sector na tanggapin sa internship program nila (The government can also tap the private sector to take graduates and undergraduates with higher qualifications in their internship programs),” he said over DZRH radio.

He said such program would also give workers the opportunity to train and improve their skills while the government works to control the novel coronavirus.

Lacson also pitched the setting up of local food terminals in island or regions of the country, to help farmers and boat operators who were also displaced by the pandemic.

“Ang food terminal natin sa Taguig napakalaki, almost barren ang lupa. Hindi ba pwedeng mag-create sa bawa’t island group may food terminal? Bawa’t region may food terminal (Our food terminal in Taguig is big but its land is almost barren. We can create a food terminal for each island group or region),” he said.

This can be complemented by government providing farmers with inputs such as seeds, fertilizer and irrigation, he said.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of Agriculture was planning to revive the remaining Food Terminal Inc. property in Taguig City as an integrated modern farmers’ trading center.

“We cannot effectively address joblessness due to the closure of businesses amid the pandemic, if we don’t reopen the economy,” Lacson pointed out.

Lacson, however, maintained that efforts for economic recovery should go hand-in-hand with ongoing efforts to control the novel coronavirus, as well as to curb corruption.

The government should also avoid overregulation of the private sector while implementing budget reform to prioritize research and development and the use of information and communications technology, he reiterated.

“Kailangang ayusin ang COVID[-19] response natin kasi napakasama. Babalik tayo sa No. 1 problem sa ating bansa which is corruption. Ang binibiling palay nakikinabang ang importers, karamihan di natin kababayan, ito ang pumapatay sa ating magsasaka (We must refine our Covid response because it is simply bad. We go back to our No. 1 problem, corruption. We import rice but only importers – most of whom are not Filipinos – benefit at the expense of our farmers),” he said.