A SIZEABLE Philippine population can be an economic advantage especially if people have ample income and real consumption power, a lawmaker said.
This developed as the House plenary started debates on a reproductive health (RH) bill that intends to give universal access to birth control and maternal care.
LPG Marketers’ Association (LPGMA) Representative Arnel Ty pointed out that a large population attracts direct investments that create jobs, which in turn generate family incomes that spur robust consumption.
“Strong consumption stimulates demand for industries, which in turn further drives employment growth, thus producing even more consumers,” said Ty, a member of the House committee on trade and industry.
Ty cited the case of China with 1.3 billion people, saying global manufacturers are aggressively building new factories there because its large population offers a highly attractive consumer market.
As manufacturers expand their facilities in the world’s fastest growing economy, they are also employing more people there, thus sustaining a positive economic cycle, he added.
“Our problem is not so much that we have a population of 95 million, but that a large number of Filipinos in the labor force remain idle. Without gainful employment, many of our people do not have real consumption power,” Ty said.
The Philippines’ unemployment and underemployment rates remain high at 7.1 percent and 19.6 percent respectively, based on the latest Labor Force Survey. The figures imply that 27 out of every 100 able-bodied Filipinos are either totally without jobs or desperately looking for extra work.
The legislator emphasized the need for the Aquino government to create new jobs
at a much faster rate.
“One way to increase employment is through more vocational public high schools and technical institutes that offer two years of post-secondary education,” he said.