As many as 800,000 workers are vulnerable to retrenchment due to the downturn. These include workers in export-oriented industries as well as Filipinos employed abroad. In October, government data showed unemployment at 2.53 million, while those underemployed, or whose jobs do not fit their education or skills, numbered about six million. Others
estimate unemployment and underemployment at above 10 million, possibly hitting 11 million this year. With the global financial crisis wreaking havoc on local employment, addressing basic labour issues such as providing decent work has become more difficult to achieve, potentially undermining the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating poverty and hunger. About 25.4 million Filipinos are estimated to be living below the poverty line of $1.35/day, roughly one in three, while the MDG-1 target aims to halve the number of Filipinos living in extreme poverty - 12.7 million - by 2015. As I have argued before, now is the time that CSR has never been so important with community investment programmes targeted at poverty alleviation a top priority. This is one reason why we are holding The Manila Forum
event this year with a special emphasis on community invesment.