Returning Senator Jinggoy Estrada (File photo)

MANILA – Returning Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Wednesday said he plans to file bills creating two bureaus under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to help address unemployment.

He said his proposed National Employment Assistance Center and National Manpower, Data, and Placement Service are like the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) where database of job seekers will be stored to provide them with additional assistance.

"Yung (The) National Power Data Center parang yung (like the) PESO bill. Maglalagay tayo ng isang (We will put an) agency under the Department of Labor na lahat ng data na kailangan ng mga nangangailangan ng trabaho magre-register dun (that all the data needed by job seekers will register there)," Estrada said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

Estrada, one of the 12 senators elected in the last May 9 polls, said the incoming Senate majority bloc vowed to elect him as chairperson of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development in the 19th Congress.

Once chosen to head the Senate panel, he promised also to push for the institutionalization of flexi-time for the private sector and the Magna Carta for the seafarers that aims to require the government to add more benefits for seafarers.

Estrada said he also will support any measure that will amend the economic provisions of the Constitution to allow 100 percent foreign ownership in the country.

"We can generate more jobs kapag pwede na ang (if we allow the) 100 percent foreign ownership. We have to amend the Constitution with regards only to the economic provision," he said.

Estrada also believes that the agriculture and tourism sectors should be strengthened to generate more jobs and provide more incentives to the farmers.

He said he fully supports the decision of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to lead the Department of Agriculture (DA) “at least for now” amid the looming food shortage due to Russia’s war on Ukraine and global oil prices hikes.

"I admire the decision of incoming President Bongbong Marcos that he will lead the agriculture sector to focus on the problems of Department of Agriculture," he said.

An April 2022 Labor Force Survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shows that around 2.76 million Filipinos remain jobless.

PSA is expecting the unemployment rate to continue decreasing as Covid-19 alert levels relax amid an increasing Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR).

"Nagfa-fluctuate siya. Ang pinakamababa niya actually was in October 2019 na nasa 4.5 percent. Hindi naman talaga significant pero nakikita naman natin tumataas ‘yung ating LFPR (Labor Force Participation Rate). Dumadami ang mga gustong mag-participate sa ating labor market (The pre-pandemic was at the 5 percent level. It fluctuates. The lowest [unemployment rate] was in October 2019 at 4.5 percent. It is not really significant but we see our LFPR increasing. More are interested in participating in our labor market)," National Statistician and Civil Registrar General, Undersecretary Dennis Mapa said in a recent media briefing. (PNA)