A militant group told Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque there is nothing to be happy about the 27.3 million Filipinos out of work in July in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said Roque was “very insensitive” on his comment about the country’s record-high unemployment rate.
Roque made a statement on Monday praising the resilience of Filipinos after a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed the rise of unemployment rate to 45.5 percent.
He said it “could have been worse” given the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on Philippine economy, and that he is “glad” it is not at 100 percent.
This drew the ire of Bayan which pointed to the “failure of leadership” of the administration as the reason behind the spike of joblessness.
“Hindi masaya at nakakatuwa ang mawalan ng trabaho at magutom. Minamaliit na naman nila problema ng mamamayan (It is not fun to lose a job and get hungry. They are belittling again the problem of the people),” Reyes said in a Twitter post.
Reyes criticized Roque for trying to put a spin to make the employment situation look better.
Akbayan Youth also share the same view, saying the administration should not “romanticize the resilience of Filipinos as an attempt to cover up its inability to effectively respond to the health and economic crisis.”
“The Filipinos are paying the price for the incapabilities of this administration. They are hungry. Most are forced out of their jobs, with no other way to feed their families…It’s almost as if this government does not care at all,” Akbayan Youth chair Dr. RJ Naguit noted.
Naguit said the job losses could have been prevented if the administration only “relied on science instead of arms.”