Displaced workers hit 3.6 million
DOLE’s regular job displacement monitoring report showed that from January to Oct. 11, the number of workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis had increased dramatically.
Walter Bollozos, file
Displaced workers hit 3.6 million
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines Despite the reopening of the economy, the number of workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic nationwide continues to increase and has reached 3,675,150, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has reported.

DOLE’s regular job displacement monitoring report showed that from January to Oct. 11, the number of workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis had increased dramatically.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said a majority of the affected workers were only laid off temporarily and many of them are expected to be re-hired by their employers in the coming months.

Bello said DOLE is set to come out with an order concerning the request of employers’ groups to extend the six-month period within which they are mandated to re-hire temporarily terminated workers.

He also expressed support for moves to allow more companies to operate in full capacity considering that inspectors from different government agencies have been deployed to ensure compliance with the health protocol.

DOLE data also showed that 3,392,772 workers were affected by either flexible work arrangement (FWAs) or temporary closures of establishments from March to Oct. 11.

Although many companies have reopened, sources from the DOLE said most firms are still unable to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic and were forced to reduce workforce.

A labor official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also noted that most companies that have reopened are still not operating in full capacity because of the community quarantine.

“Most of the affected business establishments are not expected to recover for the next two years,” the official said in an interview.

Based on DOLE data, 86,391 commercial establishments with a total of 2,064,678 workers opted for temporary closure while 35,328 firms resorted to flexible work arrangements (FWAs) affecting 1,458,484 workers.

DOLE further reported that a total of 282,378 workers were displaced as a result of shutdown and retrenchment in 14,880 establishments nationwide.

Ninety percent of the 13,369 establishments, DOLE said, opted to reduce workforce while the remaining 10 percent resorted to permanently close.

National Capital Region (NCR) accounted for the biggest number of displaced workers with 151,664 followed by Calabarzon with 43,472 and Central Luzon with 28,673.

According to DOLE, the highest number of displacement was recorded in June with a total of 50,589 followed by the month of August with 38,636 and July with 36,853.

However, DOLE has already recorded a total of 66,229 displaced workers from 2,534 establishments in the first 11 days of October.

The bulk or 21 percent of the displaced workers were from administrative and support services, while the manufacturing sector accounted for 14 percent of the displacement.

Bello said the DOLE continues to provide financial aid for workers displaced by the pandemic.

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