Open-close lockdowns close opportunities for first-time job seekers: Pangilinan

Open-close lockdowns close opportunities for first-time job seekers: Pangilinan

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — A new generation of fresh graduates is having a hard time
entering the labor force as the unemployment rate jumped up in August
due to quarantine restrictions, said Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
Friday.

“Yung close-open na lockdown, nag-c-close ng oportunidad sa mga
gustong maghanapbuhay. Marami na ang nawalan ng trabaho dahil dito,
tapos ngayon may mga bagong graduate na maghahanap din ng trabaho,”
said Pangilinan.

The senator, who has exposed irregularities in the Senate hearings on
Covid expenditures, said an appropriate, efficient, corrupt-free Covid
response is key to a promising life for all Filipinos, including new
graduates.

“Maayos at hindi corrupt na Covid response ang susi sa magandang buhay
sa lahat ng mga Pilipino, lalo na sa mga new graduates,” Pangilinan
said.

As of August 2021, the unemployment rate swelled to 8.1%, equivalent
to 3.88 million jobless Filipinos. Lockdowns are directly proportional
to job loss.

In a Palace briefing Thursday, National Economic Development Authority
(NEDA) Secretary Karl Chua said that job creation has been dependent
on quarantine restrictions. Lockdowns temporarily stopped jobs while
gradual easing resumed employment generation.

Data from NEDA shows that 69% of the country’s economy remained under
general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions of
alert level 4 in Metro Manila. This translated to 23.3 million workers
affected by work disruptions.

“Every time Metro Manila is placed under lockdown, many are forced to
temporarily lose their jobs. Lockdowns without testing, contact
tracing, isolation, and vaccination are not enough,” said Pangilinan.

“Even before the pandemic, fresh graduates were already having a hard
time finding jobs — more so now that the unemployment rate is high.
This is a leadership issue. If the leadership is able to address
Covid, businesses will resume and generate jobs,” he added.

According to NEDA’s Chua, the cost of Covid and quarantine both to the
present and the future — meaning today’s children and their
grandchildren — will reach P41.4 trillion.

He estimated that the Philippine economy would take more than 10 years
to return to pre-pandemic growth, warning that the next two
generations of Filipinos would be paying for the cost of Covid-19.

As of September 30, the Philippines has logged over 2.5 million total
Covid cases with 138,294 active cases and 38,294 deaths.

Pangilinan said it is unfortunate that young Filipinos would have to
bear the brunt of the effects of a poor Covid response.

“Our young people already have debts even before having jobs. We need
efficient medical interventions now so that our graduates may find
jobs and help their families,” he said. (AI/MTVN)

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