Labor chief denies almost half of Filipinos jobless

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2020 09:21 AM | Updated as of Aug 17 2020 09:30 AM

Jeepney drivers serving the Monumento-Malabon route beg for money along the road in Caloocan City on Aug. 8, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/FILE

MANILA — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III refuted Monday an opinion survey which found that the coronavirus pandemic supposedly left nearly half of all Filipino adults jobless. 

A Social Weather Stations survey released Sunday showed that around 27.3 million individuals or 45.5 percent of the adult labor force was unemployed in July, a new record-high since the 34.4 percent in March 2012. 

Bello said 3.3 million Filipinos were unemployed, based on the disclosure of businesses that laid off workers or had shut down due to the pandemic. 

Most of the jobless workers were from the tourism, hotel, restaurant, retail, transportation and education sectors, he said. 

“Iyan (SWS figure) ay hindi actual joblessness,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo. 

(The SWS figure is not actual joblessness.) 

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The labor department's record is different from that of the Philippine Statistics Authority, which said 7.3 million Filipinos were unemployed in April. 

If the pandemic continues to rage, some 8 million to 10 million Filipinos could lose their work, said Bello.

He said his department released P3.3 billion worth of aid to 657,000 people unable to work due to the pandemic that had prompted lockdowns since March. 

The labor department is seeking P7 billion in funds to help more displaced workers, under a proposed stimulus package dubbed Bayanihan 2, he said.