MANILA – Malacañang on Friday said it was saddened over the country’s high unemployment rate in April due to the closure of businesses and other economic activities amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a press statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque attributed the sudden rise in joblessness to the economic shutdown of the Philippine labor market due to Covid-19.
“This is an obvious effect of the economic shutdown when the entire Luzon area was in an enhanced community quarantine where most businesses were closed and many people were out of work and stayed at home,” Roque said.
Thus, the latest number of jobless Filipinos was not surprising, Roque said.
“We are saddened – albeit unsurprised – by the April 2020 unemployment rate released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which registered at 17.7 percent,” he said.
The country’s unemployment rate climbed to 17.7 percent in April this year, according to latest data from PSA.
Meaning, around 7.3 million Filipinos are jobless due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
The April 2020 unemployment rate is a significant increase from the 5.1 percent recorded in April last year and 5.3 percent posted in January this year.
In March, the entire Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the most stringent quarantine measure, which compelled non-essential businesses to temporarily stop their operations.
Roque noted that the government has implemented various forms of subsidies during the ECQ period to assist workers affected by the pandemic.
He cited that the government’s programs include the Social Amelioration Program; the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program; the Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong for displaced OFWs; the Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers; the Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers; and the Small Business Wage Subsidy Program.
The community quarantine in the country was eased in June.
From June 1 to 15, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Central Visayas, Zamboanga City, Davao City, Mandaue City, and Cebu City are under general community quarantine (GCQ), while the rest of the country is under modified GCQ.
Roque said the National Economic and Development Authority is coming up with a comprehensive set of priority policies and strategies for production sectors, which include agriculture and fishery, industry, services and tourism.
He said the policies would enable the economy to recover and transition to the new normal.
Roque also stressed that a resiliency program is likewise being prepared to help insulate the people from future similar crises.
“Our nation is composed of resilient and hardworking people and we will stand united to weather this health crisis, and together, we will heal and recover as one,” he said. (PNA)