Palace saddened by record-high adult joblessness

Palace saddened by record-high adult joblessness

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday was “saddened” by a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey result which showed that nearly half of the country’s adult labor force was jobless in July 2020.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the SWS’s July 3-6 National Mobile Phone Survey which found adult joblessness hitting a record high 45.5 percent was expected due to restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We are of course saddened but that’s to be expected with the lockdowns that we’ve had because of Covid-19,” Roque said in a virtual Palace briefing.

Despite the figure that eclipsed the previous record high of 34.4 percent logged in March 2012, Roque said he was still pleased that the joblessness rate turned out better than expected considering the country has been on a lockdown since March 2020, the longest lockdown in the world.

“Ako po’y nagagalak na hindi tayo 100 percent nawalan ng trabaho kasi sa tagal po na naka-lockdown tayo. Talagang I’m still surprised at our resilience at 45 percent pa lang po nawawalan ng trabaho (I’m still happy that we didn’t reach 100 percent joblessness because we’ve had long lockdowns. I’m still surprised at our resilience that our joblessness is only at 45 percent). It could have been worse,” Roque said.

According to Roque, the national government is finding ways to address the needs of Filipinos severely affected by the impact of Covid-related lockdowns by slowly reopening the economy.

He said that with government funds quickly depleting, the only solution is to allow citizens to resume their livelihood with minimum health and safety standards in place.

“I personally belong to the school of thought that we can live with Covid, we need to learn how to live our lives with Covid,” he said.

He also noted that financial assistance is available for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“I think government is looking at opening the economy and providing financial assistance to small and medium scale enterprises and also assistance to strategic businesses even if it is not small and medium scale,” he said.

Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan will be under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status until Tuesday (August 18) to allow a recalibration of the country’s healthcare capacity.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce new quarantine classifications for Metro Manila and nearby provinces after meeting with members of his Cabinet on Monday night.

Last week, Duterte admitted that he is having difficulty balancing health and economy after reverting Metro Manila and nearby provinces to MECQ status.

He wanted to heed the request of medical front-liners to extend the MECQ until the end of the month to slowdown the spread of the coronavirus disease, but was unsure of where the government would get funds for its social amelioration program.

The July 2020 SWS Survey showed that the estimated number of jobless adults was at 27.3 million in July 2020 and 7.9 million in December 2019.

Adults who are jobless consists of those who voluntarily left their old jobs, are seeking jobs for the first time, or lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control. Azer Parrocha / PNA –