Solon pushes for higher DOLE 2021 budget to create 3M jobs amid pandemic

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — A lawmaker is pushing for the restoration of ₱40 billion in the Labor Department’s 2021 budget that will provide emergency employment to three million Filipinos amid the pandemic.

During the plenary deliberations on Wednesday on the 2021 proposed budget of the Department of Labor and Employment, Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite asked if the department’s budget was enough to help workers who lost their job because of the global health crisis.

Quezon Rep. David Suarez, the sponsor of the budget, said it was not enough. He noted that DOLE originally proposed ₱76 billion for the 2021 fiscal year but the Department of Budget and Management only included ₱27.531 billion in the final proposed budget.

Suarez added that it will be more helpful to restore the ₱40 billion budget for the department’s barangay emergency employment program, a budget item rejected by the DBM.

He explained that if this is granted, it will help DOLE address the employment problem in the grassroots, and will provide jobs to more than three million Filipinos

"Sana ay mapagkaloob yung barangay emergency employment program na aabot ng ₱40 billion. Alam natin na ang talagang epekto ng pandemiya ay nasa grassroots level.... Hindi bababa sa 3 million Filipinos ang makikinabang sa pondong ito kung maibibigay," Suarez said.

[Translation: We hope the barangay emergency employment program worth ₱40 billion will be granted. We know the effect of the pandemic is at the grassroots level. This will be able to help more than 3 million Filipinos if granted.]

Aside from this, the ₱40-billion fund will also support DOLE’s other programs like COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program and the enhanced Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers program.

Unemployment in the country increased this year due to the implementation of quarantine restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19, which led to the temporary shutdown of businesses.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority shows that unemployment rate in July was at 10 percent, or some 4.6 million Filipinos out of work. This is down from 17.7 percent in April as the country slowly resumes economic activity.