MANILA - Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday said about 4 million more workers may lose their jobs by the end of 2020 as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to affect businesses in the country.
The Philippines may lose about 10 to 15 percent of our workforce, Bello said during a hybrid Senate hearing when asked about the DOLE's "unemployment projection" by the end of the year.
"It could be bigger, but we are looking at a possible resurgence of the BPO," he said referring to the business process outsourcing industry.
Economic experts earlier said call centers and back offices of foreign companies in the Philippines are expected to generate more jobs this year as businesses around the world try to outsource several services to save funds during the crisis.
The full implementation of the government's Build, Build, Build program and the resumption of other construction activities in the country is expected to cushion unemployment numbers, Bello said.
Some 2,000 businesses earlier advised DOLE about either declaring permanent closure, redundancy, or retrenchment after the long community quarantine period affected revenues and operations.
The DOLE is eyeing a P40-billion wage subsidy program to help some companies retain workers during the COVID-19 crisis, Bello said.
"It (Looming job cuts) will weaken economic activities. Hindi sila mamimili. Walang pupunta sa restaurants... walang business," he said.
"We need to secure jobs."
In April, the Philippines' unemployment rate ballooned to a record 17.7 percent during the lockdown in Luzon, the country's most populated island, according to government data.
It translates to 7.3 million jobless Filipinos during the global health and economic crisis.