MANILA - About 5 million Filipinos lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III said Thursday, citing his agency's official records.
The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that estimated 12.7 million Filipinos were without jobs in the fourth quarter of 2020 was correct "in a way" but was not completely accurate, said Bello.
"Ang record namin as of December, umaabot lamang po ng mga around a little less than 5 million," he told ANC's Headstart.
(According to our record, as of December, it is around a little less than 5 million.)
The SWS survey must have included those who were "temporarily terminated" or those who will be re-hired by their companies after 6 months, and also those who were affected by "flexible working arrangements," said Bello.
He said there were about 3 million employees who were temporarily terminated and some 4 million whose working hours were reduced due to flexible working arrangements.
Bello said the DOLE pitched for a P40-billion budget for this year to subsidize workers' wages, but this was not approved. However, he hopes that it will be included if there will be a third stimulus package or Bayanihan 3.
"In effect, we are telling the employers, wag muna kayong mag-terminate or mag-retrench ng mga empleyado niyo. What we can do to help you is we subsidize from 25 to 50 percent of the salaries of your workers. That was the reason for our budgetary proposal of a P40-billion wage subsidy, kaya lang hindi nasama sa 2021 budget. Hopefully and I pray it happens, magkakaroon ng Bayanihan 3 na maisama 'yan," he said.
(In effect, we are telling the employers not to terminate or retrench their employees. What we can do to help you is we subsidize from 25 to 50 percent of the salaries of your workers. That was the reason for our budgetary proposal of a P40-billion wage subsidy, but unfortunately it was not included in the 2021 budget. Hopefully and I pray it happens, there will be a Bayanihan 3 and that will be included.)
The DOLE currently has about P16 billion to assist those who lost their jobs and an additional P3 billion specifically for those who worked in the tourism sector. This allocation will also be used to help informal workers and overseas Filipino workers, said Bello.