A lawmaker is pushing to make COVID-19 tests free for job seekers.
According to Sen. Sonny Angara, who promoted Senate Bill 2291, some job seekers have a problem with some employers’ requirement of negative COVID-19 tests.
For Angara, the P3,500 to P5,000 COVID-19 test equivalent to two sacks of rice costs a lot.
He also said that the cost of the RT-PCR test and the cost of the trip to the testing site is equal to half a month’s salary of the minimum wage earner.
Although some job applications are online, he said, the hiring process still has face-to-face interviews.
“Kung luluwas ka sa isang lungsod, minsan kailangan yang negative result as gate pass. Kahit na sabihin na online ang application, kadalasan may face-to-face interview na kasunod, o kaya actual demonstration ng skills,” said Angara.
He added that many are already complaining about having the COVID-19 test as a pre-employment requirement, so he promotes the free swab test to job seekers, especially if it is an employment stimulus.
Under the proposal, PhilHealth will be responsible for COVID-19 testing.
Testing will include first-time job seekers, unemployed but job seekers, and those displaced by the pandemic.
Solon pushes for free COVID-19 tests for jobseekers
Job seekers also need to reserve a slot for the free test for which PhilHealth will refund the fee.
The proposal clarifies that the COVID-19 test should not be a requirement.
The country’s unemployment rate in April 2021 was estimated at 8.7 percent. This was substantially lower than the record high 17.6 percent in April 2020 but higher than the 7.1 percent reported in March 2021.
The unemployment rate in April 2021 was the same/ about the same as the rate reported in October 2020 (8.7%), January 2021 (8.7%), and February 2021 (8.8%).
The total number of unemployed individuals 15 years old and over in April 2021 was registered at 4.14 million in terms of magnitude. It was lower by 3.09 million from the number of unemployed persons in April 2020 (7.23 million).
The employment rate in the country posted a month-on-month decline in April 2021 when Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)/Modified ECQ was re-imposed in the National Capital Region and nearby areas: from a 92.9 percent employment rate in March 2021, and it dropped to 91.3 percent this April 2021.