69,022 jobless after virus shut down 2,068 companies – DOLE
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 2,068 establishments had closed down during the COVID-19 health crisis, displacing 69,022 workers, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said at the Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday.
The Philippine Statistics Authority’s figure of 7.3 million workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic was based on a survey and was not the actual figure, he added.
To help displaced informal workers, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was planning to expand its emergency employment program from 10 days to up to six months’ work, Bello said.
For formal workers, the Dole could offer 25 to 50 percent wage subsidy to employers as long as they do not let go of any of their employees, he said.
Bello said 321,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were also affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and that 191,000 had opted to stay “where they are now.”
The Dole is now taking care of some 62,000 stranded OFWs, with 16,679 of them due to return home this June, he added. Workers’ groups Sentro, Federation of Free Workers and Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines meanwhile warned that the country can’t recover economically because Bello had “refused to confront the reality” that millions had actually lost their jobs.
—With a report from Jovic Yee
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