MANILA -- Malacanang on Wednesday expressed elation over the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey result showing fewer jobless Filipinos, adding that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to further reduce the unemployment figure through jobs created under the “Build, Build, Build” program.
Based on the latest SWS survey, average adult joblessness slid to 15.7 percent or 7.2 million adults from the previous 18.9 percent or 8.7 million adults - the lowest unemployment level since March 2004.
The SWS defines joblessness as those "without a job at present" or "looking for a job."
In the meantime, net optimism on job availability rose to an "excellent" +41 in December 2017, up 13 points from +28 in September and surpassed the previous record high of +37 in December 2016.
Net optimism on jobs is the difference between those who expected "more jobs" (53 percent) and those who saw "fewer jobs" (12 percent) in the market in the next 12 months.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the figures showed that “the Duterte administration is indeed on the right track in making sustainable and inclusive growth as part of our development plan.”
Citing data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Palace spokesperson said government spending on infrastructure has risen considerably since Duterte came to power.
According to the DBM, infrastructure disbursements rose by 44.8 percent in November last year, reaching PHP43.8 billion.
This was an increase of PHP13.6 billion from the PHP30.2 billion released in the same month in 2016.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno attributed the rise in infrastructure spending to the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build program, which he said would usher in the country's 'golden age of infrastructure'.
Roque said that with the recent enactment of the administration’s priority tax reform measure, Filipinos could expect more jobs available as major ticket infrastructure projects throughout the nation get off the ground.
“We expect to generate more jobs with the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, which would increase infrastructure investments. Our Build-Build-Build Infrastructure Program is projected to create more than a million jobs a year,” Roque said. (PNA)