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Labor Secretary Bello claims 7.3M unemployed Filipinos in April 'not actual nor factual'

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III downplayed Wednesday the 7.3 million reported unemployed Filipinos in April, as he claimed such figures reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) are "not actual nor factual."

During the Laging Handa virtual press briefing, Bello asserted that the number of Filipinos unemployed in April were only in the thousands, and not in the millions.

"Unang una, klaruhin natin po 'yung [7.3] million eh kwan 'yan, hindi actual 'yan. Kasi kung tutuusin, ang actual number of unemployed ay umaabot lamang po sa 69,000 at ang mga nagsabi na nagsara sila ay 2,068 companies or employers," he said.

"'Yun pong 7.3 million ay survey pa lang po 'yan, hindi pa po 'yan actual o factual," added Bello.

Sought for comment, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said: "We stand by our report."

Bello was referring to the employment data released by the PSA last week, which indicated that the Philippine unemployment rate rose to a record-high of 17.7% in April, equivalent to 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos.

This reflected an increase of 5 million unemployed Filipinos from the 2.3 million recorded in April 2019.

The figures were based on the Labor Force Survey (LFS), with the April 2020 survey conducted from April 20 to May 16, 2020, when the metropolis and other key cities were placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The LFS is a nationwide quarterly survey of households conducted by the PSA every January, April, July, and October to gather data on the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the population.

It is designed to provide statistics on levels and trends of employment, unemployment, and underemployment for the country.

Starting with the January 2020 LFS round, the PSA has used population projections based on the 2015 population census (POPCEN 2015) to generate the labor force statistics.—AOL, GMA News