Almost 21,000 workers lose jobs in Davao region last year

Published January 31, 2021, 1:17 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – Some 20,592 workers in the region lost their jobs last year as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic ripped through the domestic economy, according to National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-Davao.

In her presentation on the Highlights of Davao Region’s 2020 Socioeconomic performance, NEDA-Davao Director Maria Lourdes Lim said that, as of December 31, 2020, 18,470 out of these adversely affected workers were retrenched as companies opted to downsize operations due to redundancy of work functions and heavy financial losses.

She said a total of 2,122 were displaced as companies decided to close shop after taking a heavy beating due to the pandemic.

Severely-affected industries that have been severely affected during this period included the services sector, mainly administrative and support services; other service activities such as activities of membership organizations, repair of computers and personal and household goods; and a variety of personal services activities; and accommodation and food service activities, according to Lim.

She said the pandemic resulted in the non-hiring particularly in the services sector, as well as shorter working hours with lesser compensation as part of the measures employed by the establishments to mitigate losses in the second quarter and third quarters of 2020.

She said the business sector was particularly affected during the period of enhanced community quarantine, implemented for the whole of April until May 15, 2020, as Davao City was “was still considered high risk for COVID-19 infection.”

Lim added that employment rate during the second quarter of 2020 was reported at 82.1 percent, a decrease by 14.8 percent compared with 96.9 percent for the same period in 2019.

According to her, employment rates for third and fourth quarters of 2020 improved to 92 percent to 93.2 percent as community restrictions eased.

She said the agency projected employment rate to improve this year, owing to the resumption of businesses but “this will still be at lower levels compared to pre-COVID employment rate recorded in early 2020” at 95.4 percent.

As of January 29, the Department of Health (DOH) Davao reported 91 new cases, bringing the total to 16,974 with 2,668 active, 13,615 recoveries, and 691 deaths.

Out of the total, Davao City reported 11,459 cases, with 1,501 active, 9,415 recoveries, and 542 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 888, Davao del Norte with 2,391, Davao del Sur with 1,200, Davao Occidental with 191, and Davao Oriental with 845.

Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Lim added that prospects for the country’s economy this year remain encouraging, “with the continuous calibrated reopening of businesses and mass transportation, as well as relaxation of age group restrictions,” which will stir economic activities in the months ahead.

She added immunization program against COVID-19 of the government will also help economy to bounce back, with government allocating P72.5 billion pesos for this year to provide vaccines to at least 50 million Filipinos.

“The Duterte administration’s efforts to increasingly open the economy while taking resolute steps to fast-track the vaccination program and keep the COVID-19 case load to the lowest level possible would boost business and consumer confidence that are crucial to our robust economic recovery,” she said.