MANILA (UPDATE) - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. rejected suggestions to reduce the number of workers in government agencies to save funds as the Philippines continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, one of his Cabinet members said on Tuesday.
In a Facebook post, Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo said Marcos made the objection after the idea was brought up during their first Cabinet meeting in Malacañang.
"We don't want anyone out of [a] job at this point," Tulfo said, quoting the President.
"Ito sagot ng Pangulo matapos iprisinta ang ideya sa kanya na magbawas siguro ng tao para makatipid ang gobyerno sa ilalim ng pandemic recovery," the Department of Social Welfare and Development chief said in his post.
(This was the answer of the president after someone presented an idea to reduce the number of people to help the government save funds during the pandemic recovery.)
Marcos' pronouncement comes a week after Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez signed Memorandum Circular No. 1, which ordered all Presidential appointees whose appointments are classified as coterminous be deemed separated from service effective immediately.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said the unemployment rate in the country eased to 5.7 percent in April, but some 2.76 million Filipinos were still jobless.
April's unemployment rate is also an improvement compared to the 6.4 percent rate in January, equivalent to 2.93 million, and the 5.8 percent rate in March which translates to 2.87 million people with no jobs.
As of 12:50 p.m., Marcos' first Cabinet meeting - which started at 9 a.m. - was still ongoing, according to Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra.
"It started on time and is still ongoing," he told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
"The president is carrying on the discussion extremely well. He is knowledgeable, organized, and very sharp," he said.
At the start of the meeting, Marcos said that the economy was the "most important area" that his administration should deal with in its first few months.