MANILA, Philippines - A lawmaker warned Monday that a continued delay in the implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law will have a direct impact on unemployment figures.
Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian said the RH Law has a critical role in helping the country achieve a sustainable level of human capital to effectively increase productive working years and stabilize the country’s labor supply.
He urged the Supreme Court (SC) to finally rule on the RH Law to take advantage of the so-called “demographic dividend.”
Gatchalian said the demographic dividend – the shift to low fertility and mortality rates from high fertility and mortality rates – cuts in the growth rate of the labor force and frees up state funds for welfare and economic development.
“If the high court wants to help the country curb unemployment, then they should let the RH Law be implemented,” he said.
The vice chairman of the House of Representatives committee on housing and urban development said the latest government Labor Force Survey showed new jobs cannot keep up with the growing work force.
“As lower fertility rates slow down population growth, more people can enjoy available resources and government services,“ he said.
Gatchalian said the number of employed rose to 36.42 million from 36.14 million, while unemployment jumped to 2.97 million from 2.78 million last January.
“Lower fertility rates lead to higher employment rate as more people can fully reap the benefits of social services such as schooling,” he said. “When children are fully equipped with education, they are more likely to be employed in the future.”
Gatchalian said when per capita income moves up, government is allowed to devote funds to economic services.
Lower fertility rates would mean fewer people dependent on the employed, which in turn increases the income per person, he added.
When individuals are more empowered with higher incomes, the government can invest more on infrastructure, which will draw foreign direct investments, Gatchalian said.