At least 8,000 workers displaced during 'NCR Plus' ECQ

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Monday, April 5, that at least 8,000 workers were displaced during the first 3 days of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the Greater Manila Area.

Labor Assistant Secretary Nikki Tutay said the 8,000 workers were displaced due to retrenchment and closure of businesses.

As of March 31, DOLE has reported a total of 118,210 workers displaced since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Asked whether the labor department sees an increase in these figures because of the lockdown extension, Tutay said, "Siguro (Most probably)."

She added: "Because of this pandemic, those who are trying to survive might lead to temporary or permanent closure [of business]. This is what we're trying to address now."

DOLE has yet to release the guidelines for the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program, which would give displaced workers one-time assistance of P5,000.

Tutay said the labor department has already computed the total amount needed for cash aid and the prospective number of employees to be assisted, but she declined to elaborate.

DOLE also plans to hire 12,000 contact tracers under its emergency employment program – 5,000 in Metro Manila and 7,000 in neighboring provinces. The local government units will be on top of the hiring and the training.

Nationwide, there were 4.2 million jobless Filipinos in February, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The Philippines has set an ambitious target of 2.4 million to 2.8 million new jobs in 2021, but setbacks may be inevitable given the worsening COVID-19 surge and the extended lockdown in the "NCR Plus" bubble.

"The 2.4 to 2.8 million [jobs] is really an ambitious target because never in history that the economy was able to generate [those figures]," said Tutay.

"Our net employment generation in the first two months is around 1.9 million.… What we're seeing is the first two months and then we went under lockdown. It will have an impact and we will see that in the next labor force surveys," she added in a mix of English and Filipino. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.

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