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NCR plus ECQ displaces 17K workers in two weeks–DOLE

OVER 17,000 workers lost their jobs during the two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and its surrounding areas, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The figure is lower compared to the projected 252,000 job losses of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), when NCR Plus, which includes Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan and Rizal, was placed under ECQ.

From March 29 to April 11, DOLE tallied 14,995 employees who were retrenched by 923 establishments, while the remaining 2,334 became displaced due to the permanent closure of 90 companies.

The industries with the biggest job losses were construction; other services and activities; transportation and storage; and manufacturing.

The government provided cash aid and temporary employment to the affected workers.

Coping mechanism

DOLE registered 141,529 employees who were temporarily displaced for the duration of the ECQ in NCR Plus.

“In order to cope with the community restrictions along with the economic impact, various establishments have adopted flexible work arrangements,” DOLE said.

It noted 77,658 of the workers were engaged in flexible work arrangements implemented by 2,835 establishments, while the remaining 88,781 were affected by the temporary closure of 3,531 employers.

The government placed NCR Plus under ECQ last month in its attempt to slow down the increase in daily Covid-19 cases, which breached the 10,000 mark that time.

During the ECQ, some establishments were temporarily shut down and non-essential movement and mass gathering were prohibited.

Prior to the imposition of ECQ, NCR Plus was placed under a “travel bubble” from March 22 to April 4, 2021, wherein 8,785 workers already became permanently displaced.

On Monday, the restrictions were slightly eased after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) opted to place the NCR Plus under modified ECQ (MECQ).

Cautious projection

Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay remains cautious when it comes on the possible impact of the community quarantine restriction easing in NCR Plus, especially since some establishments are still not allowed to operate in the said area.

“We might see a similar or an upward trend [in terms of labor displacement],” Tutay told BusinessMirror in a Viber message.

Based on IATF guidelines, among the establishments which will still not be allowed to operate during the MECQ are those engaged with live performances such as karaoke and bars; indoor sports, court or venues for contact sports; casinos, horse racing, and cockfighting; and indoor and outdoor tourist attractions. 

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