MANILA - The lockdown in Metro Manila meant to arrest the spread of the new COVID-19 Delta variant will have a temporary impact on employment, the administration's economic managers said Tuesday.
The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to be imposed from Aug. 6 to 20 in the National Capital Region and several other areas, will be used to accelerate the country's vaccination program, the economic managers said in a joint statement.
"Although the ECQ imposition may temporarily impact employment outcomes in August 2021, the government is determined to maximize this period to accelerate vaccination in high-risk areas in order to safely resume economic activities and restore jobs," the statement said.
"These actions are crucial in ensuring that economic gains in recent months will resume once we have addressed this current threat," it added.
Unemployment was steady at 7.7 percent in June but the number of jobless Filipinos was slightly higher at 3.76 million compared to 3.73 million in May, government data showed.
Underemployment, meanwhile, rose to 14.2 percent for the month from 12.3 percent in May which translates to 6.41 million Filipinos who want more work.
National Statistician on Wednesday also said imposing tighter restrictions usually has an impact on jobs.
Business groups have earlier called on the government to use the lockdown period to ramp up its "sluggish" vaccination rate.
According to government data at least 9.1 million Filipinos out of its over 110 million population were fully vaccinated as of Aug. 1.
In July, the government has reached the peak of administering 659,029 jabs in one day, the economic managers said.
The officials said they are confident that the Philippines could reach its target vaccination of at least 70 million Filipinos by the end of 2021 with the expected arrival of 132.7 million doses in the next 6 months.
Economists have said that the solution to the pandemic is vaccination, as the new lockdown threatens to delay the Philippines' economic recovery.