The Department of Labor and Employment admits the possibility of 10 million workers in the country losing their jobs this year due to the pandemic.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III stated this during the May 20 Senate committee of the whole hearing, responding to Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.
“I hate to say it but it’s possible,” said Bello.
To date, the DOLE secretary reported that 2.6 million workers have already lost their jobs due to the temporary closure of businesses from the nationwide imposed community quarantine.
Bello initially estimated that 4 to 5 million will be jobless as the country continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Karamihan po ‘yan sa service sector. Malaki po ang tourism, ‘yung allied businesses like restaurants, then transportation,” said Bello.
[Most of the job losses will be in the service sector. The tourism sector will also have big job reductions, including allied businesses like restaurants. The transportation sector will also be affected.]
Recto agreed with Bello’s projections on job losses, add to the fact that only 50 percent of workers in some businesses are allowed to go back to work as quarantine restrictions ease.
Department of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat mentioned in a Senate hearing that last April that the tourism sector had no revenue due to zero tourist arrivals. A 50 percent drop in revenue in the tourism sector by the end of the year is to be expected, according to Romulo-Puyat.
The tourism sector provides jobs to 5.4 million Filipinos or about 15 percent of the total employment in the country.
Despite the expected huge job losses in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bello said they are expanding its Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD program to assist those who will lose their jobs.
The Labor Department also said government is to resume pending infrastructure projects that can give jobs to those who will be jobless.
“We have talked to the leaders of the construction industry that when they start implementing these contracts, they should increase their workers by 10 percent to 20 percent,” said Bello.
He added that DOLE has requested for a ₱40-billion budget from the House of Representatives for its recovery programs.
DOLE continues their cash subsidy program to informal workers affected by the quarantine through its COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program, where each worker will receive a ₱5,000 financial assistance.