Gov't aims to speed up vaccine rollout, further reopen economy to generate more jobs

Published June 8, 2021, 6:08 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government is counting on the vaccination drive and the safe reopening of the economy to help stimulate job creation in the country.

Essential workers get coronavirus vaccines inside the SM Manila cinema that has been converted into a vaccination hub on cinema turned vaccination hub at SM Manila tuesday, June 8, 2021. The national government officially rolled out the vaccination for A4 group on Monday, June 7, 2021.(photo by ali vicoy)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque mentioned the government’s three-pronged economic recovery strategy after the country’s unemployment rate rose last April due to the reimposition of strict lockdown in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces during the period.

The government’s strategies, Roque said, include the safe reopening of the economy while observing health protocols, implementation of the recovery package, and timely implementation of the vaccination program.

“Ang istratehiya naman po natin unang-una is tangkain na ikontrol nga ang disease na ito para lalo tayong makapagbukas ng ekonomiya; pangalawa, patuloy pa rin iyong paggagamit natin ng fiscal at monetary policies (Our strategy is first to control the disease so we can further reopen the economy and second, use fiscal and monetary policies)…Pangatlo po, iyong pinabibilis nga po natin ang pagbabakuna (Third, we will hasten our vaccination drive),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, June 8.

“Dahil nga po dito sa three-pronged strategy na ito ay tingin ko makakabawi tayo (Because of three-pronged strategy, I think we can recover),” he said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the country’s unemployment rate increased to 8.7 percent in April from 7.1 percent in the previous month. The jobless rate is equivalent to 4.14 million Filipinos, higher than the estimated 3.44 million unemployed persons in March.

READ: Jobless rate jumps amid strict quarantine

Roque conceded that the movement controls reimposed in National Capital Region Plus back in March to curb the rapid cases of infections have affected the livelihood of Filipinos.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal have eased to general community quarantine (GCQ) but with certain restrictions until June 15 to curb the case surge.

“Hindi po nakakapagtaka kung bakit tumaas muli ang unemployment rate kasi tatlong buwan po tayo nag-ECQ, MECQ, at GCQ with restrictions ‘no. Pero kinakailangan naman po iyan to achieve total health ‘no, na masigurado na minimize poverty at the same time control the dramatic in rise in cases dahil nga po sa mga new variants (It is not surprising why the unemployment rate rose again since we were under ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ with restrictions for three months. We had to implement it to achieve total health, minimize poverty and at the same time control the dramatic rise in cases due to the new variants),” Roque said.

Roque remained optimistic the country can further reopen the economy as the vaccination efforts pick up.

More than 1.6 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated since the government began the vaccination drive last March. The government is currently studying proposed easing of movement protocols for vaccinated persons to promote safe trade and travel.

The government earlier disclosed plans to vaccinate 58 to 70 million Filipinos to achieve herd immunity before the end of the year. But the government revised its short-term target, this time aiming to inoculate 9.7 million persons in NCR by late November to attain population protection.