‘Jobless, quarantined Pinoys not vacationing’ – Brosas
MANILA, Philippines — House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas slammed on Wednesday presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. for saying that President Rodrigo Duterte declared three usual holidays as “special working days” because of the need to revive the economy after Filipinos’ “yearlong vacation” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brosas, a member of the Gabriela party-list group, said the comment was “insensitive and downright offensive” to millions of Filipinos suffering from the pandemic.
“For Malacañang, one year of pandemic is just a vacation while for the poor, it is a never-ending nightmare because of the lack of aid and livelihood,” Brosas said in a statement.
Brosas said government officials should be more sensitive to the suffering of Filipinos who were already anxious about their livelihoods even as they worry about the health and lives of their loved ones who are involuntarily confined at home after the government botched its response to the global pandemic.
“There is no vacation for the mothers in the communities, who cannot stop thinking about what to feed their children amid the rising prices of goods. There is no vacation for workers who are uncertain about their job tenure and low pay,” the lawmaker said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported in December that its last labor force survey tallied about 4.5 million jobless Filipinos in 2020 and the unemployment rate at 10.4 percent—the highest in 15 years.
Worst recession since ’84
In January, the PSA also reported that the country’s P19.52-trillion economy shrank by 9.5 percent in 2020—the biggest drop in gross domestic product (GDP) since the government started recording yearly output in 1946, or after World War II. The PSA said GDP in 2020 amounted to P17.98 trillion at current prices.
The country is under its worst recession since 1984, when the economy shrank by 7 percent during the debt crisis in the waning years of the Marcos dictatorship.
“If they really want to revive the economy, Duterte and his minions should be the ones who should cut back their holidays. They should stop swimming with dolphins while there is a community quarantine,” Brosas said in a dig at Roque, who was bashed on social media last year after photos of him swimming with dolphins went viral after a visit to a resort in Subic, Zambales, despite quarantine restrictions.
She added, referring to Sen. Ronald dela Rosa’s remarks last year: “Sen. Bato dela Rosa may be right: Life is good for those who are close to the President.”
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.