Vital Statistics

Manila Bulletin, February 21, 2010 | Go to article overview

Vital Statistics


The battle for the hearts and minds of the Philippine electorate is on. I can understand the pa-cute adverts, even the use of endorsers. The children in the house have rubber bracelets of competing candidates around their wrists. They can even sing Manny Villar’s signature song. I do take offense at the attacks against the statistics of the past six years. After all, I was part of the bureaucracy that tracked them until I left the Cabinet in 2006. Collecting statistics is done by virtually the same set of people in their respective departments, political changes notwithstanding. These are professional bureaucrats whose methods and computations follow international norms. The way the statistics are being twisted, you would think Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is running for President. The last time I looked, she was running for representative of Pampanga.I know the statistics of the Department of Labor and Employment even up to now. When President Cory came in, our strike data surged to 459, a number that is easy to explain. There was a new government and workers were testing the waters of new-found freedoms. In 1988, the numbers started going down progressively with the Drilon at intensive conciliation and mediation. The strike numbers went down to double digit in 1994 under President Ramos and as of 2009, there were only 5 strikes during the entire year. I heard one commentator say, kasi bumaba ang employment. That is not true. Our employment numbers have been progressively better. And so has the numbers and membership of our unions. And please note that we do not include the number of people who take overseas jobs in the employment figure even if they are part of the population base. …

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