Labor groups slam Roque for trivializing loss of jobs

Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) on Monday said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque deeply insulted the millions of unemployed Filipinos when he expressed his delight that the unemployment rate did not reach 100 percent.

"By expressing his delight that the unemployment rate did not reach 100% and by further asserting that this was due to our supposed resilience, Mr. Roque deeply insulted the 27.3 million unemployed Filipinos who are currently at a loss on how they are going to survive the foreseeable future. His toxic positivity is stupid and revolting," BMP President Luke Espiritu said in a statement.

He said Roque's remarks is yet another attempt by the Duterte administration to "downplay" the severity of the situation that millions of workers are facing.

A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that 45.5 percent Filipino adults  - or 27.3 million people - were jobless.

According to Espiritu, the data provided by the SWS isn't evidence of the FIlipino people's resiliency in handling the pandemic-induced crisis rather it is evidence of the Duterte administration's inability or blatant refusal to sufficiently address the plight of the working masses.

He said the 45% is not just a number as it represents 27.3 million suffering Filipinos. 

"What makes Mr. Roque's callous indifference more infuriating is not only his disregard to the poverty and misery of the nearly half of the labor force, he also did not present any plan on how to alleviate their suffering. As with the Duterte regime's plans for our health system's sufficient capacitation against the pandemic, they are silent on a comprehensive plan to generate jobs for the unemployed," said Espiritu.

Defend Jobs Philippines also slammed Roque's statement.

"Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s tactless statement is nothing but a mere proof of how our government is treating our labor force," the group said.

"The 45.5% record-high adult joblessness rate is an alarming and a serious matter that needs to be addressed with utmost sincerity and compassion for our workers," added Defend Jobs.