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New lockdown displaces nearly 8,000 workers, Labor dep’t says

NEARLY 8,000 workers were displaced during the first week of the reimposed lockdown in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces, the Labor department said.

At a virtual briefing of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Monday, Assistant Secretary Dominique R. Tutay said the estimate was made in the first few days of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) declared by the Palace, which began on March 29.

“From that period hanggang (until) March 31, ang nadagdag (there were an additional) displaced workers of around 8,000 workers. The total accounts for workers who were retrenched or affected by permanent business closures, she said. Prior to the ECQ announcement, the department’s tally for displaced workers was around 111,000 as of March 23.

The DoLE official said this makes the total displacement at 118,210 workers as of March 31.

Ms. Tutay, who also heads DoLE’s Bureau of Local Employment, said she expects the total to grow because the ECQ has been extended for another week by the Palace.

“The way we track the displacement, we also compute from the flexible work arrangements (those) who still have jobs, how many of them graduated to temporary (business) closure or how many graduated to permanent closure. That is how we analyze data now,” she said.

On Saturday, the Palace said it will extend the ECQ in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal by another week to April 11 due to the rapid rise in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The country has been observing various levels of quarantine since March 2020 and gradually reopened the economy in late 2020, until the daily case count hit record levels last month. — Gillian M. Cortez

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