Palace ''saddened'' but not surprised over high unemployment rate in April
Malacañang admitted on Friday that it was ''saddened'' with the surge in the unemployment rate in April.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, said the Palace was not surprised that unemployment rate released by the Philippine Statistics Authority hit 17.7 percent.
"We are saddened - albeit unsurprised - by the April 2020 unemployment rate," he said.
"This is an obvious effect of the economic shutdown when the entire Luzon area was in an enhanced community quarantine where most businesses were closed and many people were out of work and stayed at home," Roque said.
The government has placed the entire Luzon under ECQ to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease.
Roque said to assist the Filipinos, the government implemented various forms of subsidies.
These include the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Covid 19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), the Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) for displaced OFWs, Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers (FSRF) by the Department of Agriculture (DA); and the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) Program by the Department of Finance (DOF).
Roque also cited the National Economic and Development Authority's (NEDA) plan to come up with a comprehensive set of priority policies and strategies for production sectors, which include agriculture and fishery, industry, services and tourism, to enable the economy to recover and transition to the new normal.
"A resiliency program, such as but not limited to active labor market programs, job matching and skills upgrading, is likewise being prepared to help insulate our people from future similar crises," he said.
"Our nation is composed of resilient and hardworking people and we will stand united to weather this health crisis, and together, we will heal and recover as one," the spokesman added.
According to the PSA, the unemployment rate in April rose to 17.7 percent or equivalent to about 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos. Celerina Monte/DMS