Around five to 10 million Filipinos could lose jobs in the country due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday.
During a Senate hearing on COVID-19 updates, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said 2.6 million workers have already been laid off due to temporary closure of business establishments, after he was asked by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.
"Our estimate is that we might lose about more than four to five million jobs... Karamihan po 'yan sa service sector. Malaki po ang tourism, 'yung allied businesses like restaurants, then transportation," Bello said.
Asked by Recto if he thinks job losses could even reach 10 million, the Cabinet official said: "I hate to say it but it's possible."
Bello said the DOLE plans to expand its Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers program to be able to extend assistance to those who will lose their jobs.
Also part of the post-pandemic recovery plan is to spur employment by pushing for the implementation of pending infrastructure projects, he added.
"We have talked to the leaders of the construction industry that when they start implementing these contracts, they should increase their workers by 10% to 20%," Bello said.
Further, he said the DOLE has requested for a P40-billion budget from the House of Representatives to finance its recovery programs. -MDM, GMA News