Lately, a trusted survey firm came out with the conclusion that there is a much higher unemployment rate in the Country during these depressed and depressing times -- compared to those obtaining since 2005. Concretely, the survey said that there are some 11 million employable yet in fact unemployed Filipinos to date. And immediately, the distrusted administration made the vain self-serving option to make its very own survey with the immediate conclusion that unemployment in the Philippines is in fact very much less -- even before its own desired and designed survey started. How convenient! How neat!
Less the Malacanang tenant forget -- together with the latter's faithfully and loudly cheering squads for all its intents and purposes plus those in command of both local and foreign business and industry -- the core significance of unemployment is not really its rate in number and scope. Rather, there is something inherently dehumanizing in unemployment, irrespective of its lesser or bigger number. Needless to say, human persons are much more in their intrinsic nature and immediate implications than whether they are few or more, numerically. This is a very sad reality among many politicos these days, i.e., what is true or false, what is good or bad, depends but on numerical count, thereby denying any ontological value system.
This is certainly not in defense of either those who are unemployed because of their indolent behavioral pattern, or those who engage in many and different criminal acts by reason of their unemployment as an excuse. This is rather about those trying their best to seek employment -- spending much of their time and little of their already little money in their pockets. The main chapters of their futile search for employment are but three: Chapter 1: They ask for some money from their spouses, parents and/or relatives, eat something called a "breakfast" and leave home with the standard papers about their persons. Chapter 2: They take a ride and/or walk to this and that company, work place and/or job fair, carrying the usual Manila envelops with their personal papers that are most of times not opened, much less read respectively by those such are meant for. Chapter 3: They eventually take a ride and/or walk back home, remaining jobless, eating something called "supper", resting only to repeat the routine of job seeking -- again and again and again.
Meantime, in the course of honest and earnest but futile pursuit of employment, the able and willing to work remain workless, thereby nurturing a mixed feeling of exhaustion and despair, self-depreciation and anger. To feel "useless" is demeaning. To feel "unwanted" is nerve-wracking. The profound predicament of everyone assiduously seeking employment and continuously finding none, is definitely not something that magnifies but belittles their human dignity. And this has special relevance and application to parental figures, adult children and responsible individuals who are pursuing jobs yet remain jobless, and thereby instead become forced dependents. This is one concrete psycho-social malady in the Country, i.e., unemployment does not only have negative material but also psychological effects, not simply adverse social but also deeply personal impacts. And this is precisely why to be jobless transcends the sphere of but numerical count whereas it in effect undermines human dignity and self-worth.
May 20, 2009