Gatchalian to gov't: Find ways to cushion impact of 14-day ECQ on workers

Published August 6, 2021, 2:37 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian on Friday, August 6 said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Finance (DOF), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) should leave no stone unturned in combing every possible source of funds for short-term jobs or financial assistance to workers who would be displaced in the re-imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) starting today, August 6.

Gatchalian said the government should have prepared well for the possible impact of the ECQ on workers who will be affected.

The latest unemployment survey released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the number of unemployed Filipinos slightly rose to 3.76 million in June from May’s 3.73 million.

PSA Undersecretary Dennis Mapa said the imposition of the strictest level of community quarantine is likely to create an impact in unemployment numbers as similar instances in the past showed an increase in joblessness.

He cited the case in April last year, at the height of the ECQ period, when the unemployment rate rose to record high 17.7 percent accounting to 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos.

According to reports, the DOLE has estimated that 167,000 workers in Metro Manila alone will either lose their jobs or face further reduction in their pay once the ECQ takes effect. The Employers Confederation of the Philippines, meanwhile, is projecting that half a million will be jobless.

If need be, Gatchalian, vice chairman of the Senate Economic Affairs committee, said the government should seriously consider seeking Congress’ approval to realign some of its quick response funds to come up with the needed cash assistance to displaced workers or finance short-term jobs such as contact tracing or jobs that would allow a work-from-home arrangement.