Duterte Fact Checks

FALSE: Jobless rate went down to 20% during Duterte’s term

Rappler
FALSE: Jobless rate went down to 20% during Duterte’s term
The all-time high record of 17.6% unemployment rate in the country was recorded in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lowest unemployment rate since 2005 was 4.5% in October 2019.
At a glance
  • Claim: The jobless or unemployment rate went down to 20% during President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: It is impossible for the unemployment rate to have gone down to 20% during Duterte’s term because the highest unemployment rate in the country was recorded in April 2020 at 17.6%, and this was due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lowest unemployment rate since 2005 was 4.5% in October 2019.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook post making this claim was sent to the Facebook group “Fact-checking in the Philippines” for verification. It has over 3,100 reactions, 225 comments, and 492 shares, as of writing.
Complete details

In a long post captioned “Facts about Duterte,” Facebook page “The Explainer” listed down President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed accomplishments during his term. One of its claims was, “Jobless rate went down to 20%.”

It was posted on October 2, and has over 3,100 reactions, 225 comments, and 492 shares, as of writing. Several readers also sent the post to Rappler’s email and to the Facebook group “Fact-checking in the Philippines” for verification.

This claim is false. 

It is impossible for the unemployment rate to go down to 20% during Duterte’s term because the all-time high record of unemployment rate in the country was at 17.6% in April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving around 7.3 million jobless Filipinos.

National Statistician Dennis Mapa attributed this record-high unemployment rate to the economic shutdown that affected the Philippine labor market.

At the height of the pandemic, which imposed strict lockdowns in 2020, economist AJ Montesa said, “Businesses such as retail stores and restaurants usually employ ‘no work, no pay’ schemes for their employees, and because there could be no way these employees could go to work, they were essentially out of the job.” 

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The arts, entertainment, and recreation sector tracked the biggest drop in employment rate, at 54%.

Meanwhile, the lowest unemployment rate since 2005 was recorded in October 2019 at 4.5%, Mapa said. This translates to around 2.05 million Filipinos. It is also the lowest quarterly unemployment figure under Duterte’s term.

In 2021, with Metro Manila and other cities placed under enhanced community quarantine in August, the unemployment rate was at 8.1%, or 3.88 million jobless Filipinos. It is relatively higher than July’s record of 6.9% or 3.07 million people.

The Philippine Statistics Authority releases the labor force survey figures quarterly, during the months of January, April, July, and October. – Dianne Sampang/Rappler.com

Dianne Sampang is a volunteer of Rappler's fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler's research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler's fact-checking mentorship program here.

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