Labor dept report: 2 million workers unable to work since lockdown

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File photo shows workers installing steel bars at a construction site along Aurora Boulevard in Quezon City

Around 2 million workers were unable to work since the government started declaring large-scale quarantine measure to contain the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak last March, according to a new Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) report.

In a document obtained by BusinessMirror, DOLE said of these affected employees, 1.77 million were employed by 74,645 companies, which implemented temporary closure (TC) because of the Covid-19 crisis.

The remaining 244,925 of the said employees employed by 6,307 firms were required to go on forced leave.

The same report, which covered data from March 16, 2020 up to May 6, 2020, also showed that 423,134 employees, who were still able to work, but under a limited scale.

These include those who were engaged under reduced workdays (270,702); rotation of workers (69,395); and other flexible work arrangement (FWA) such as telecommuting (83,037).

DOLE has yet to register any permanent labor displacement, which could be attributed to the Covid-19 crisis.

Regional distribution

About 35 percent, or 895,593, of these workers under TC and FWA were from the National Capital Region (NCR).

Region 3 has the second most number of these employees with 292,816. It was followed by Region 11 (205,081); Region 10 (166,325); and Calabarzon (164,378); and Region 9 (122,794).

Areas which registered TC and FWA affected workers due to Covid-19 include Region 7 (93,093); Region 2 (90,983); Mimaropa (88,474); Region 5  (78,136); Region 6 (72,313); Cordillera Administrative Region (68,146); Region 8 (54,619); Caraga (46,779); Region 1 (32,018); and Region 12 (27,680).

Due to policy limitations, DOLE is no longer able to determine how many of these workers were able to return to work after the government started relaxing quarantine restrictions in areas which were placed under general community quarantine  this month.

Currently, areas which remain under ECQ up  to May 15, 2020 are NCR, Regions 3 (except the province of Aurora) and 4-A, the provinces of Pangasinan, Benguet, Iloilo, Cebu, Albay and the cities of Bacolod, Davao and Zamboanga City.

Under ECQ, almost all business operations are suspended except those deemed as essential by the government like healthcare and food manufacturing.

Areas which are not included in ECQ, are automatically placed under GCQ status, wherein more business operations are allowed to operate albeit on a limited scale.

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