MALACAÑANG ruled out government cash assistance for Filipino workers who displaced due to the global pandemic, even as it hinted instead on pushing the reopening of the economy despite the spike in COVID-19 cases to address the country’s unemployment situation.
“Hindi pa po option ang pagbibigay ng ayuda. Ang gagawin po talaga natin ay ang pagbubukas ng ating ekonomiya, expansion ng age group na puwedeng lumabas, at pagpaparami ng transportasyon,” said Roque when asked whether the government is again open to granting cash grant to low income families and to those who lost their jobs when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was implemented to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier reports on the latest Labor Force Survey by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the number or unemployed Filipinos pegged at 1.6 million in January this year.
National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said the unemployment rate in the first month of 2021 stood at 8.7% or four million jobless adults – ages 15 and above.
Millions of Filipino workers were rendered jobless in view of the government-imposed restrictions to prevent the spread of the deadly virus in March last year. The ECQ protocol shut down all businesses, including schools and transport services, except in essential industries limited to food, medicines and banks.
Roque categorically hinted as reopening of economy, but with strict observance to existing health protocols.
“Ito ang pagbubukas ng ekonomiya na hindi sinasakripisyo ang kaligtasan at kalusugan ng mamamayan,” he said.