Bello sees 5-M job losses in COVID-19 pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday said the impact inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic could trigger the loss of up to five million jobs in the country by the end of the year.
Bello disclosed this during the Senate hearing on the status of the government’s COVID-19 response when asked by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on how many workers ould be displaced due to the health crisis.
“Our estimate is that we might lose about more than four to five million jobs,” the labor chief said.
According to Bello, around 2.6 million workers have so far been displaced amid the pandemic.
“Right now, we already lost 2.6 million workers resulting from business establishments going into temporary closure,” he said, adding that other businesses are also opting to implement alternative work arrangements.
Resorting to flexible work schemes would result in fewer workdays, rotation, forced leave and telecommuting.
The labor secretary said that majority of the jobs at risk are from the service sector as well as the tourism industry, particularly the allied businesses like restaurants and transportation.
Bello also mentioned that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is working to ensure that jobs will be generated in the construction industry through its post-COVID-19 recovery plan.
“(Part of our plan) is to generate employment by asking the Department of Public Works and Highways together with the Department of Trade and Industry to implement all pending contracts so that the construction industry can start operating,” he said.
“At the same, we talked to the leaders of the construction industry that when they start implementing these contracts, they should increase workers by 10 to 20 percent,” he added.
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