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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

"We can still recover," says Sec. Roque in reaction to rising unemployment, lower GDP projections

COVID-19 variants triggered higher unemployment rates; lower GDP projections

MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque today said COVID-19’s new variants forced the government to institute strict quarantine measures to avert further and more difficult health concerns.

This was his reaction to higher unemployment rate reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority’s April Labor Force Survey and the reduction of World Bank’s GDP growth projections for the rest of the year.

The Philippine Statistics Authority today said the country’s unemployment rate in April 2021 was estimated at 8.7 percent, though significantly lower than the 17.6 percent recorded in April 2020 but higher than the 7.1 percent noted in March 2021.

The labor force participation rate in (LFPR) April 2021 was placed at 62.3 percent which means 47.41 million were either employed or unemployed. The PSA said the decline was traced to the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)/Modified ECQ over the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby areas.

At a separate briefing, the World Bank in Manila said the country’s economy will grew at 4.7 percent before it reaches 5.9 percent in 2022 and 6.0 percent in 2023. The projections made under the Philippines Economic Update.

The WB projection is below the government’s forecast of 6 – 7 percent growth this year.

“The new variants forced the government to enforce E-GCQ and GCQ in Metro Manila and nearby provinces where 63 percent of our GDP comes from. It is no longer surprising why the unemployment rate rose again because of the three months we’ve been subjected to quarantine measures,” he said

He explained while it was difficult, the government had to enforce quarantine measures to achieve total health at the same time minimize poverty.

The government’s strategy is to control the disease for the economy to reopen. He assured everyone the government is utilizing fiscal and monetary policies where P2.7 trillion has been extended as subsidies and the vigorous vaccination campaign.

“We are optimistic we can still recover,” Secretary Roque said. (Melo M. Acuna)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. (Screen grab from Presidential Press Briefing/June 8,2021/Melo M. Acuna)

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