Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said around four million Filipinos could lose their jobs by the end of 2020 due to the economic impact of COVID-19.
“Siguro, we will lose another 10% to 15% of our workforce… Four million [workers],” Bello said in a Senate hearing.
“It would be bigger, but we’re also looking at the possible resurgence of workers in the BPO [business process outsourcing], medyo nabalanse nila ‘yung ating mawawalang trabaho [they slightly balanced those who lost their jobs],” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program is also seen to employ the displaced workers, Bello added.
“We are expecting a resurgence also of employment in the construction industry,” he said.
Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) latest Labor Force Survey showed that the unemployment rate in the country rosed to 17.7 percent or equivalent to 7.3 million jobless Pinoys due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Bello, however, refuted the report, saying the 7.3 million figures are “not actual nor factual.”
“Unang una, klaruhin natin po ‘yung [7.3] million eh kwan’ yan, hindi actual ‘yan. Kasi kung tutuusin, ang actual number of unemployed ay umaabot lamang po sa 69,000 at ang mga nagsabi na nagsara sila ay 2,068 companies or employers,” he said.
(Firstly, let us clarify that the 7.3 million is not actual. Because the actual number of unemployed is only 69,000 and those who closed are only 2,068 companies or employers.)
“‘Yun pong 7.3 million ay survey pa lang po ‘yan, hindi pa po ‘yan actual o factual,” added Bello.
He said that from January to June 2020, more than 2,100 business establishments submitted formal notices temporary stoppage of operations to DOLE. This resulted in job displacement of 90,000 workers.
“Mayroon din nag-submit sa amin na mga 196 business establishments [that] decided to stop permanently [their] operations,” he added.
Bello said that to prevent the looming unemployment of four million Filipinos by the end of 2020, DOLE is pushing for a P40 billion worth of wage subsidy program for employers.
“We will talk to the employers, huwag kayong mag-dismiss, we will shoulder 25% to 50% of the salaries of your employees. This will help in protecting and preserving the employment of our workers,” Bello said.