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The easing of the country’s unemployment rate in October is a result of the government’s relentless efforts in assisting workers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Friday.

“As the Department of Labor and Employment celebrates its 87th Founding Anniversary next week, the result of the October 2020 Labor Force Survey comes as a humble affirmation of our goal of productive and gainfully employed Filipino workers. With the unemployment rate easing down at 8.7 percent or equivalent to 3.8 million unemployed, we are one with the entire Duterte administration in its resolve for the gradual rebound of the economy,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement.

He was referring to the three major programs namely Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program and Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP), which aims to ease the effects of the crisis on Filipino workers.

“We are fast-tracking the implementation of our Php13-billion safety net programs for the formal and informal sector workers, including the returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), under Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the economy continues to reopen, we also recognize that business is still struggling to recover,” Bello added.

Likewise, he said they continue to facilitate employment services with initiatives, such as Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK), Balik-Trabaho Online Job Fair, and youth employability programs, namely the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) and the Government Internship Program (GIP).

“We also continuously update policies affecting workers and businesses to contain the spread of COVID-19 and eventually lessen its impacts through strict adherence to the minimum health standards in the workplace,” he said.

He added that the DOLE is one with the entire government in the implementation of the “Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Recover” (PDITR) strategy, and in efforts to ensure safe and sufficient public transport to enable more businesses to reopen and more workers to return to work and make a living.

Bello also said the DOLE in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, (TESDA) has initiated the development and implementation of the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS), an expanded TNK which serves as the blueprint for decent employment and entrepreneurship in the new normal.

“Various government agencies have been consulted and supported the initiative and targets to be rolled out in 2021 as part of the whole-of-nation approach for full economic recovery,” he said. (PNA)

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