7.3 M Filipinos go jobless; normal transport, biz soon — gov’t



Fred M. Lobo Fred M. Lobo

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has  announced  that the  unemployment rate climbed to 17.7 percent in April this year, rendering some 7.3 million Filipinos jobless.

Pandemic killed people and jobs. Government and   the private sector have   to jointly work double- time to bring us back to normalcy.


Government authorities vowed to normalize transportation  in Metro Manila within this month  while the business sector  moved  to reopen  essential businesses to recover losses and  provide  jobs.

Help bring back businesses  and employment, the business and  labor sectors appealed.


“This is a record high in the unemployment rate reflecting the effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) economic shutdown to the Philippine labor market,” National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said.

April unemployment rate  significantly  jump  from only 5.1 percent in the same month last year and 5.3 percent last January, he added..


The PSA official  pointed out  that labor force participation  rate among Filipinos 15-years and older  declined  to an estimated 55.6 percent in April, the lowest in the history of Philippine labor market.

Young workers greatly   affected , Mapa said.


The PSA added that all regions reported double-digit unemployment rates during the month, with the  highest  unemployment  rate  occurring  in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region  ( 29.8 percent}, followed by Region III (27.3 percent), Cordillera Administrative Region (25.3 percent),  and  Metro Manila, at 12.3 percent.

Calling economic managers! Joblessness  disheartening. Poverty and   hunger  lurking…


The Department of Transportation (DOTr)  said more routes have been opened  for more than 200 point-to-point (P2P) buses to ferry more commuters as Metro Manila and  nearby provinces  this  second week of a more relaxed  lockdown.

Transport reopening   is calibrated to prevent spread of Covid-19 virus, it said.


The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) added   that a total of 268 buses will be deployed   in the National Capital Region (NCR) and   nearby areas..

28 new routes   will be opened, ,too , to serve  more areas, including  Bulacan, and Calamba, Laguna, it announced.


Transport officials  explained   that  P2P buses have been issued special permits as part of the control measures under the general community quarantine.

Abide by   health and safety protocols to the ensure safety of passengers and  bus personnel, they ordered.


DOTr Sec. Arthur  Tugade  reminded operators and drivers to strictly observe preventive measures such as the mandatory wearing of face masks  and  gloves,  aside from  the thorough and regular disinfecting of the buses and bus terminals.

“Mask is  a must as Pres. Duterte has ordered,” he reiterated.


“Passenger load for the P2P buses should also not exceed 50 percent or half of the vehicle’s capacity to observe physical distancing… with a navigation system for monitoring of movement, automatic fare collection system , among others,” the LTFRB  ordered.

Physical distancing strictly enforced, it said.


The LTFRB  added  that tricycles and motorcycles  were also  allowed to operate but subject to prior approval  and supervision  of the  local government unit (LGUs).

Solo passenger only  and  no “angkas” allowed., it stressed.


The LTFRB assured  it  plans  to open the entire 31 rationalized routes for city buses by June 19 to ease the public transportation shortage under the GCQ.

“We are meeting a target , we are looking forward to opening all 31 rationalized city bus routes by June 19,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said.


Transport  officials  added  all public utility buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express will hopefully  be allowed  on the road during Phase 2,  to  run from June 22 to June 30,  under   the DOTr “calibrated, partial, and in phases” approach.

Yes to   more  safe  transport  for commuters, workers and  businessmen  under the “new normal”.