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At least 1.5 million workers to lose job with lockdown, warns labor group

The Philippine Statistics Authority announced that the country's unemployment rate remains at 7.7 percent in June

At least 1.5 million workers will lose their jobs with the implementation this week of restrictions on the movement of people that aims to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the number of workers who will be displaced by the lockdown will “reach or even surpass” that of April.

The group demanded a 5,000-peso (about US$100) “unconditional cash aid” for all families in areas that will be placed under the “enhanced community quarantine.”

On August 3, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced that the country’s unemployment rate remains at 7.7 percent in June, accounting for 3.76 million jobless Filipinos.

Based on the results of the June 2021 Labor Force Survey, the PSA said “the country’s unemployment rate in June 2021 remained the same as the 7.7 percent reported a month ago.”

“In terms of magnitude, 3.76 million Filipinos 15 years old and over were unemployed in June 2021, compared to 3.73 million in May 2021,” PSA said.

The unemployment rate in June was lower than the unemployment rates in April at 8.7 percent, February at 8.8 percent, and January at 8.7 percent.

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It was, however, higher than the 7.1 percent recorded in March.

PSA said the employment rate in June remained unchanged at 92.3 percent from May amid the surge of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The employment rate in June is higher than the rates reported in April 2021 at 91.3 percent, February 2021 at 91.2 percent, and January at 91.3 percent, but lower by -0.6 percentage point from the March estimate, the PSA noted.

Underemployment rate also went up to 14.2 percent in June from the estimated 12.3 percent in the previous month, according to the agency.

“This is translated to an increase of 918,000 underemployed persons, from 5.49 million in May to 6.41 million in June 2021,” it noted.

KMU urged the government to implement programs for displaced workers during the pandemic.

“We would have wanted an ‘enhanced pandemic response’ not an ‘enhanced community quarantine,'” said Jerome Adonis, secretary general of KMU.

He said the lockdown will not address the rise of COVID-19 cases but will only “buy time for the government to properly respond.”

Adonis said the government should enhance its free mass testing program and provide accessible treatment for all who would be infected by the virus.

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