Nagagalak? Roque says losing a job is not a joke

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2020 02:40 PM

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque during a press briefing of the IATF-EID at the Quezon Memorial Circle on July 30, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA-- Losing one's livelihood during the pandemic is not a joke, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday as he explained his earlier pronouncements on being glad that not all Filipinos lost their jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

Roque drew flak on social media for his remarks on Monday, when he said that he was surprised that only 45 percent of Filipinos have lost their jobs.

"Ako po'y nagagalak na hindi tayo 100 percent nawalan ng trabaho kasi, sa tagal po na naka-lockdown tayo, talagang I'm still surprised at our resilience at 45 percent pa lang po ang nawawalan ng trabaho," the President's spokesman said during Monday's Palace press briefing.

(I am glad that not everyone lost their jobs because of the long lockdowns. I'm still surprised at our resilience, that only 45 percent have lost their jobs.)

The Palace mouthpiece on Tuesday acknowledged that his statement did not sit well with some people, saying he only meant that the situation "could have been worse."

"Malungkot po na maraming nawalan ng trabaho sa atin. Hindi po biro talaga 'yan," he said.

(It's sad that many people lost their jobs. That's not a joke)

"Mayroon pong ibang tao na minasama o binigyang kulay 'yung aking sinabi na nagagalak na hindi tayo 100 percent nawalan ng trabaho. Ang ibig ko lang pong sabihin, it could have been worse," he added.

(Some people took offense or gave color to my remark that we are happy that not everyone lost their work. I only meant that it could have been worse.)

Almost half of all Filipino adults, or around 27.3 million individuals, are jobless according to the Social Weather Stations’ national mobile phone survey conducted last July. 

The 45.5 percent adult joblessness rate is a new record-high since the 34.4 percent in March 2012, SWS said.