Poverty remains the most critical social problem that needs to be addressed.
"Jobless" Economic Progress in the Philippines?
Jeany Rose Callora left her home on the Philippine island of Negros last year to work at a soft- drinks factory in Manila, hoping to earn money for college. When her contract ended six months later, she said she couldn’t get another job in Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economy.
“I’ll do anything: saleslady, factory worker, waitress,” the 20-year-old high-school graduate said as she waited 11 hours for an interview in an employment agency in Manila, surrounded by dozens of other applicants.
Callora is one of 2.89 million unemployed Filipinos, swelling a jobless rate that climbed to 7.1 percent in January from 6.8 percent the previous month. About 660,000 positions have been lost since October 2011, even as the economy expanded 6.6 percent last year.
The nation is struggling to reconcile a lack of jobs for people like Callora, who have little training, with a shortage of skilled workers in industries such as information technology and shipbuilding. While the economy is being boosted by call centers and remittances from workers who moved abroad, the country’s poverty level hasn’t decreased since 2006.
“What we’re seeing is a two-tier economy with booming sectors favoring skilled workers,” said Frederic Neumann, co- head of Asian economics research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong. “The government must boost labor-intensive sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, or else rising inequality will create pressure for increased social spending.”
( Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times )
Uncontrolled Population Growth
From the L.A.Times
In the Philippines, a country of 96 million people, access to birth control is mostly limited to those with the means to buy it. A "reproductive health law" seeks to change that: It calls for public education about contraceptives and government subsidies to make them available to everyone.
The church and like-minded opponents have stalled the legislation. Following Vatican dictates, Philippine bishops oppose any "artificial" measures to prevent pregnancy, sanctioning only natural means such as periodic abstention from sex.
It's one example of how religious and political forces affect women's control over childbearing and, as a result, the trajectory of population growth in the developing world.
The church's stance puts it at odds with many of its followers in the Philippines. Eight out of 10 Filipinos are Catholic. Even for weekday Mass, popular churches draw huge crowds that tie up Manila traffic.
Polls show, however, that 70% of the population supports the reproductive health bill, which also calls for sex education in schools.
Beware of The China Bully!
China will establish a military garrison on a disputed island in the South China Sea, part of an increased assertiveness in the resource-rich waters that’s straining ties with nations in the region and the U.S.
The garrison for the new city of Sansha was approved as 1,100 Chinese residents elected a legislature to oversee the area, the Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. Sansha is on the Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam.
The quality of higher education: Is it all about the "Ateneo/La Salle basketball rivalry?
Only five schools from the Philippines made it to the list of top 300 universities in Asia, a report released by QS University Rankings for Asia.
The University of the Philippines (UP) was the lone Philippine university in the top 100, ranking 67th in the list. UP was followed by the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) at 109th, University of Santo Tomas (UST) at 150th, De La Salle University (DLSU) at 151st-160th and University of Southeastern Philippines (USP) at 251st-300th.