Palace bats for further opening of economy to generate jobs

Published February 2, 2021, 5:02 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

More jobs could be generated of Filipinos if the local economy would further be reopened, Malacañang said Tuesday after a survey showed a drop in joblessness among adults in the country.


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque admitted that the Palace is saddened the country’s unemployment rate has not yet returned to pre-pandemic level but found “solace” in the poll results on the fewer unemployed Filipinos.

“Ito po ang dahilan kung bakit kinakailangang magbukas pa rin tayo ng ating ekonomiya nang sa ganoon mas marami sa ating mga kababayan ang makapag trabaho (This is the reason we must further open our economy so more countrymen can work),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday.

“At kaya naman po ito, alam na natin kung paano iiwasan ang COVID-19 – Mask, Hugas at Iwas. Ingat-buhay para sa hanapbuhay (And we know how to avoid COVID-19: Wear a mask, wash hands, and observe physical distancing. Let’s take care of our health so we can work),” he added.

Based on the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted last November, adult joblessness reached 27.3 percent or an estimated 12.7 million jobless adults. The adult joblessness dropped from 39.5 percent or 23.7 million adults last September.

The adult unemployment rate peaked at 45.5 percent based on a survey last July as the pandemic lockdown weakened business operations and consumer spending.

“Unang-una, malungkot po tayo na hindi pa rin bumababa o hindi pa rin bumabalik sa dating datos ang ating joblessness bago po nasalanta tayo ng COVID-19. Dati-rati po kasi, bago mag-COVID-19, 19.8 iyong ating joblessness. Ngayon po, 27.3, mataas pa rin po iyan (First, we are saddened that our joblessness data has not yet returned to the level before we were hit by COVID-19. Before COVID-19, the joblessness rate was 19.8 percent. Now it is 27.3 percent. That’s still high),” Roque said.

“Bagama’t kahit papaano po, we find solace in the fact na bumaba nga po itong joblessness (But at least we find solace in the fact that the joblessness has dropped),” he said

The drop in the country’s unemployment rate came as the government gradually eased the movement restrictions to revitalize the economy. More businesses and public transportation have been allowed to operate but subject to minimum public health standards to prevent a spike in coronavirus infections.

The government pandemic task force recently allowed children as young as 10 years old to go to malls and other public places with their parents in a bid to boost consumer spending and business activity. President Duterte however recalled the order and told kids aged 10 to 14 to stay at home amid the threat of the new more infectious coronavirus variant.

With the President’s decision, only persons between 15 and 65 years old are allowed to leave their houses during the community quarantine.