Before the COVID pandemic, the Philippine employment situation was vibrant, expanding at 4.0 percent or 1.6 million net employment generated.

When the global pandemic hit, we feared that employment will be impacted badly. We expected these results given that health crisis has crippled most of our economic activities.

With the imposition of community quarantine, hundreds of thousands of establishments resorted to temporary closures or flexible work arrangements as evidenced by millions of workers affected both in the formal, informal and overseas sectors.

The 17.7 percent unemployment rate which translates to 7.3 million unemployed is highest, surpassing the 10.3% unemployment rate in the 1998 recession in the Philippines.

We also recognize the huge drop in the labor force participation rate at 55.6%, the lowest in the history of the Philippine Labor Market. The lockdown during the community quarantine from March to May, which is supposed to be the period for job hunting of our fresh graduates, has put the labor force in a standstill as two-thirds of the economy is shut down.

As the economy opens gradually, we are hopeful that the labor market will also recover. The Department is committed to preserve and protect employment as we await the approval and implementation of the whole-of-government Recovery Plan in the remainder of the Duterte Administration.

Rest assured that we will continue to provide employment facilitation services, in different platforms – online, digital, face-to-face with the assistance of our Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs). We are also thankful to the private sector for continuously engaging with us in extending job opportunities to displaced Filipino workers.

We encourage more companies to help connect Filipino jobseekers with the much-needed decent jobs for the country and its economy to recover.

SILVESTRE H. BELLO III                                                                                                                        Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment                                                                                    Intramuros, Manila                                                                                                                                    June 5, 2020