As millions go jobless, Palace says cash aid not an option for now

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2021 05:03 PM

As millions go jobless, Palace says cash aid not an option for now 1
Jeepney drivers who are still not allowed to operate within their route resort to selling vegetables at a waiting shed near the corner of Laong Laan and Blumentritt in Manila on Sept. 18, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — Malacañang said on Tuesday the government was not yet considering cash aid for millions of Filipinos who were left jobless by the COVID-19 crisis. 

Unemployment rose in January with around 4 million adult Filipinos, representing 8.7 percent of the labor force, jobless in the first month of the year compared to the same period last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
 
"Hindi pa po kasama sa opsyon ang pagmimigay ng ayuda," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque, when asked how the government would address joblessness. 

(The options do not yet include aid distribution.)

Instead the government will further reopen the economy, expand age groups allowed to go out, increase public transport economy, implement recovery package, and rollout COVID-19 shots, said Roque. 

"Sabi naman ng Pangulo, magsimula lang ang pagbabakuna at ma-convince lang siya na marami-rami na ang nababakunahan, tuluyan na niyang bubuksan ang ekonomiya," he told reporters in a televised briefing. 

"Pagbubukas po talaga ng ekonomiya ang solusyon para magkaroon ng mas maraming trabaho sa ating lipunan," he added. 

(The President said that once the vaccination starts and many have been inoculated he will open the economy. The reopening of the economy is really the solution so we can increase jobs in our society.)

One of Asia's fastest-growing economies before the pandemic, the Philippines last year suffered its worst GDP contraction since the end of the Second World War. 

The Philippines has received 600,000 COVID-19 shots that China donated from Beijing-based drug maker Sinovac Biotech, and 525,600 doses from Britain's AstraZeneca through vaccine-sharing COVAX Facility. 

Video courtesy of PTV