Luzon-wide ECQ displaced 15 million workers, Ateneo study shows

Czeriza Valencia - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Almost 15 million workers are estimated to have been displaced by the ongoing Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), according to the Ateneo de Manila University.

In a policy brief titled “Understanding the Profile of Displaced Workers due to ECQ,” the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development (ACERD) said estimates based on the 2018 Labor Force survey showed that some 14.9 million workers in NCR and in other parts of Luzon might have been displaced as a result of the ECQ that forced businesses to maintain a skeleton workforce.

This comprises four million displaced workers in NCR and 10.9 million in the rest of Luzon.

While a lockdown as severe as the ECQ has not been imposed on the rest of the country, it is estimated that 4.3 million workers in Visayas and another 4.3 million in Mindanao will be displaced.

This means that 57 percent of the country’s total employed may be displaced.

The government has so far rolled out several cash assistance programs, the latest of which was the P5,000 up to P8,000 emergency subsidy to be provided to 18 million low-income families for two months under the Bayanihan Act.

ACERD said that while this level of subsidy could help affected households augment their budget, this is still seen to be well-below the average monthly incomes of displaced workers in NCR at P13,200 and P9,700 in the rest of Luzon.

“It is important to distinguish those who are part of the skeletal force and therefore continues to get full salary and those that are displaced. Thus, the priority of the funding assistance must go to the displaced workers,” ACERD said.

ACERD said the displacement of a large number of workers because of the ECQ brings attention to the lack of stronger institutions and more sophisticated technologies that could have otherwise prevented workers from being displaced.

“During the first week of the ECQ, many daily wage earners were faced with the prospects of no income due to the lack of complementary safety nets for the program,” the economists said.



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