MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte should have spoken more about jobs in his final State of the Nation Address, a senator said Tuesday.
The Duterte administration has the lowest job creation rate after Martial Law, think-tank IBON Foundation earlier said.
"I think the President should’ve spoken more about that because that is the concern of people today. There are so many who have lost their jobs, unemployment is on the rise," Senator Ralph Recto told ANC's Headstart.
"You need to create more manufacturing jobs as well. We need to develop an export industry as well, a bigger industry. 'Wag natin pahirapan sila. Create more special economic zones."
"In Batangas we do have a lot of special economic zones and hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created. That’s probably why Batangas is doing better than other provinces because we have those industries there," he added.
When asked about the country's current state, Recto said it was the "laggard in the region as far as competitiveness and growth is concerned."
"The economy dropped by 9.5 percent last year, that's roughly about P1.8 trillion. How long will it take for us to recover? Some are saying by 2023. Chances are (it will), before we get back to 2019 level," he said.
The Philippines' economic downturn last year, its first contraction since 1998, was worse than the 7 percent contraction recorded in 1984, making it the steepest post-war slump in its history.
The country also recorded the "worst" unemployment rate in 2020 at 10.4 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Statistics Authority earlier said.