MANILA -- The coronavirus pandemic displaced some 2.5 million workers temporarily or permanently, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Tuesday.
The number could rise further if businesses fail to implement flexible arrangements to save jobs, Bello told Teleradyo. President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to decide this week on the fate of the lockdown in Metro Manila and urban centers that is scheduled to last until May 15.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said earlier Tuesday that some 1.2 to 1.5 million jobs were temporarily lost due to the pandemic.
"Itong figure natin baka lolobo pa 'yan, kaya ang dapat natin gawin ngayon ay gumawa tayo ng mga advisory, sa mga employers at business establishments para mag adopt ng iba’t-ibang klaseng arrangements para mabawasan ang pagtatanggal o pagsasara," Bello said.
(What we need to do is make advisories for employers to adopt different arrangements to avoid laying off workers)
Companies that are losing money due to COVID-19 can give their employees temporary suspensions, limited working hours or rotating schedules to avoid retrenchment, Bello said.
The DOLE has launched cash aid programs for local and overseas Filipinos workers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. However, funds are rapidly depleting due to the overwhelming number of beneficiaries, Bello earlier said.