By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Alarmed by the rising unemployment, House minority lawmakers proposed Wednesday to nationalize the small town lottery (STL) to create employment.
Minority leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez expressed serious concern over the recent Social Weather Stations survey indicating that self-rated unemployment increased to 22 percent, or 9.8 million people who claim they are unemployed.
“This is a serious problem, especially the Christmas season is fast approaching,” he told reporters.
“The House minority has also proposed one potential solution: nationalize the small town lottery (STL) in order to create employment for those who have difficulty finding gainful employment due to factors such as age, lack of education, or physical disabilities,” Suarez said.
He cited that the STL Program of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has produced around 270,000 cobradores, 21,200 cabos, and 11,700 organic STL employees this year.
“We are optimistic that employment in this area will be expanded. This representation remembers those days when I was struggling as a young man. There is no better gift than a paycheck, no happier feeling than finally getting a job to put food on the table,” Suarez said.
He noted that the rising unemployment has often been correlated with government expenditures. “The slow disbursement of government agencies must be addressed,” he said.
Suarez laments that in August, year-to-date spending was at P 2.19 trillion out of the P3.767 trillion national budget. “This merely amounts to almost 60 percent of the budget with only four months left to the year,” he said.
He said the House minority is calling on various government agencies, especially the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), to accelerate expenditure and implementation of government projects.
“We urge the heads of the agencies to strictly monitor the accomplishments of their programs, particularly the big-ticket infrastructure projects, and hasten its completion, especially that we shall be adopting a cash-based budgeting scheme this 2019. This should generate more jobs and increase household income,” Suarez said.