The Philippines could be facing a “worse” unemployment crisis in 2021 unless the government would make immediate and proper interventions.
According to the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) president Sonny Matula, more workers would lose their jobs this year if the government would not support job-generating programs.
Matula added many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) would not survive the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic without the support of the government. SMEs comprise a majority of firms in the country.
“Our appeal is for a robust budget to address unemployment. If there is no intervention, the economy would fall and small companies would fold up, plunging workers further into poverty,” Matula said in a virtual briefing last Thursday.
“If people don’t have money to spend, the economy won’t run even with a relaxing of the quarantine. There should be stimulus funding,” he said.
Matual said it would be highly unlikely for the private sector to venture into new investments since the pandemic is not yet managed in the country.
‘Worse’ unemployment in PH seen in 2021 – labor group
He added that only the government could implement measures that would boost the economy and offer more job opportunities.
“If the government will not do that, we’re looking at worse days ahead,” he warned.
However, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello expressed confidence that local employment would continue to improve this year.
“We expect employment to improve as our economy is now moving,” he said, adding that the government’s Build, Build, Build, projects would create more jobs this year.
In December 2020, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa reported that the unemployment rate of 8.7% was recorded in October 2020. This is equivalent to 3.8 million adult Filipinos without jobs or a source of income during the period.
“[Nasa] 3.8 milyong Pilipino na nasa labor force ay walang trabaho o negosyo nitong nakaraang October 2020. Ito ay mas mataas ng 1.8 milyon kaysa sa bilang noong October 2019 na nasa 2.0 milyong indibidwal na walang trabaho o negosyo,” Mapa said, citing the results of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) July 2020 Labor Force Survey.