The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is proposing for the country to “safely reopen” businesses to solve the increasing unemployment rate. 

The Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) status within the NCR Plus from March to April and the modified ECQ in May have “significantly affected” the economy, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

The unemployment rate spiked to 8.7 percent or a total of 4.1 million unemployed individuals, from 7.1 percent or 3.4 in March, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“The DOLE is one with the economic managers in safely reopening businesses so mobility of workers is also facilitated in a less restrictive community quarantine levels,” Bello said in a statement.

“This is the only way to sustain our employment recovery and economic recovery efforts,” he added.

Bello explained that the improvement in employment reported in March 2021 “will not be sustained” because the country was under stricter lockdown measures, such as ECQ and MECQ.

“The labor department had anticipated that the improvement in employment reported in March 2021 will not be sustained,” he noted.

The Labor department is hopeful that the labor market condition will be “improved” with the government’s active Covid-19 vaccine rollout that aims to vaccinate 35.5 million people under the A4 category.

“The current labor market condition may be improved by the timely rollout of vaccines for A4 categories of priority groups – the workers,” he said. “We call upon all Filipino workers to get themselves inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines.” Ronald Espartinez