28 December 2018
Labor leader predicts brain drain to worsen with next round of TRAIN 1 oil excise taxes
Veteran unionist and senatorial aspirant Ka Leody de Guzman of the militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) in a statement warned on Friday against the “imminent and increasing exodus” of young, talented and skilled Filipinos in search of greener pastures abroad in 2019 as the second tranche of oil excise taxes takes effect on January 1.
Citing results of a Gallup poll conducted from 2015 to 2017 which indicated that the Philippines’ potential net migration index (PNMI) stands at – 9 percent, the labor leader claimed that frustration has been building up alongside a restive labor front specially among the young adults.
Gallup, an American management consulting company says the PNMI measures the total potential net change to the adult population by subtracting those who would like to move out of a country from those who would like to move into a country.
"The best and the brightest of Filipinos have been leaving the country with the continued implementation of the neoliberal policies of deregulation, liberalization, privatization, contractualization ever since the Cory Aquino administration. But runaway inflation induced by the oil excise taxes of the Duterte administration since last year maybe the final straw to break the camel's back,” De Guzman said.
He explained that even if the poll was conducted from 2015 to 2017, before the meteoric rise in the price of basic goods but the rising inflation rate in 2018 which is expected to continue in 2019 with the second wave of oil excise taxes, will only give more reason for our young workers and college graduates to migrate to other countries.
The poll also revealed that 16 percent highly educated Filipinos will likely leave the country to work or live abroad. Also, about 13 percent of the Philippines' young population — aged 15 to 29 seeks to move out if everyone around the world could migrate where they wanted.
“Unfortunately, with the taxation shift from income to consumption, the tax burden is more felt by the the poor although they did not benefit from the increased exemptions to income taxes. Worse, they are overtaxed and yet they hardly feel the social services and safety nets that were promised to be part of the tax reform measures.
We could not blame the youth for opting to migrate abroad; bled dry by taxes, unserviced and abandoned by the state, and now further agitated by the recent acquittal of politicians charged with plunder,” De Guzman surmised.
However, the labor leader added that the suceeding administrations were not "alarmed over our brain drain as they all adhered to the tacit policy of labor exportation, as OFW remittances keep the consumption-based economy afloat".
He laments that the “ruling elite do not have a vision of sound national development based on industry and agriculture, that generates more jobs for the majority of our countrymen. They are mere rent-seekers who live on taxes created by migrant Filipino workers".
To prove this assertion, the BMP leader cited the utter failure of the government to produce one million jobs annually as mandated by its Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 as the practice of contractual employment remains prevalent.
He says that measly number of jobs generated is easily negated by the hundreds of thousands of workers who lose their jobs as their contract expires or as the principal employers replace their subcontractors.
In order to impede the brain drain, De Guzman proposes that government veer away from its falsified export-oriented, import-dependent economic path.
“We should pursue the modernization of agriculture and economic industrialization while ensuring living wages and regular jobs, in order to provide not only for the needs of the Filipino consuming public but also to the working class that created all social wealth," he concluded. ###