Press Releases

Salceda statement on the April unemployment rate

June 8th, 2021

Salceda statement on the April unemployment rate

The April unemployment rate, up to 8.7% from the March figure of 7.1%, demonstrates how fragile our employment situation remains as herd immunity is yet to be achieved and as COVID-19 cases begin to move from Mega Manila to the provinces.

The sharp month-on-month reduction also demonstrates that most new jobs remain low-quality, low-security jobs.

There are three crucial low-hanging interventions moving forward, as we try to accelerate economic recovery.

First, we must expand treatment, isolation, and testing capacity in the provinces where COVID-19 cases are now increasing. While the number of cases in these lower-density areas are markedly lower than at the height of the COVID-19 surge in Metro Manila, the biggest threat of lockdowns in these areas will come from the inability to treat and isolate patients. Healthcare expansion will be a must if we want to buy space to avoid lockdowns.

Second, we must support sectors where job creation is taking place. The BPO sector, for example, has sought help from the government to allow it to maintain its work-from-home arrangements. We must find a healthy balance between enforcement of tax and incentives laws and our exceptional circumstances and the economic situation.

Third, we must begin creating new, more resilient industries. I urge the Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) to set aside some of their objections with the implementing rules and regulations of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) for now so that the Department of Finance and the Department of Trade and Industry can begin to release the rules in piecemeal.

To sustain long-term job recovery, there is no alternative to herd immunity.

We must encourage vaccine confidence and interest. I encourage the Civil Service Commission to release guidelines that would allow government employees, including contractuals, to take a paid leave after vaccination. I also encourage the Department of Labor and Employment to engage employers to find ways to do the same in the private sector.

Transport supply will remain essential. I urge the Department of Transportation to release its obligations to service contractors and to continue to engage the services of the same.

As we discuss the 2022 budget in the coming months, our efforts must be guided by the need for growth-enhancing public investments that will create jobs and, over the long-term, pay for themselves through economic returns.

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