After Roque remark, senator says 45.4% joblessness rate should alarm gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday said the nearly 50-percent adult joblessness rate in the country should sound the alarm for the government to ensure that assistance is provided to families affected by the loss of jobs amid the pandemic.
A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that 27.3 million Filipino workers, representing a record-high 45.4 percent of the labor force, were jobless in July 2020.
Responding to the survey, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said he was “glad” that adult joblessness did not reach 100 percent considering the lockdowns imposed in different parts of the country in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Sought to comment on Roque’s remarks, Gatchalian respected the opinion of the Palace official but stressed that the 45.4-percent adult joblessness rate should serve as a “very loud message” to the government.
“That’s the opinion of the spokesperson but in my opinion, this is not only an alarm bell but a very loud message that we need to do more to make sure that our constituents will have food on the table,” the senator said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
“Let’s go back to the basics, my advice and my advocacy is just go back to the basics, let’s make sure that there’s food on the table,” he added.
He said those who became unemployed at the height of the pandemic are “most likely in the lower income bracket of our society.”
“We have to make sure that they have food on the table for their families. In one or two months time, they will already exhaust their savings and if you don’t have food on the table, that’s criminal for all of us,” Gatchalian said.
“So we have to make sure that the government will continue to distribute subsidies and [cash aid under the] social amelioration program,” he added.
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