Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Monday downplayed results of a survey that found a record-high 45 percent of Filipinos jobless amid the Covid-19 pandemic, saying the situation “could have been worse.”

The Social Weather Stations, in a survey conducted from July 3 to 6, said jobless rate among Filipinos tripled from 7.9 million in December 2019 to 27.3 million in July 2020.

“Ako po’y nagagalak na hindi tayo 100 percent nawalan ng trabaho, kasi sa tagal po na nakalockdown tayo, I’m still surprised at our resilience, at 45 percent pa lang po ang nawawalan ng trabaho,” Roque said in a virtual presser.

“It could have been worse kasi nga po complete lockdown ang nangyayari sa atin,” he added. 

SWS defined jobless adults as those who had voluntarily left their old jobs, those seeking jobs for the first time or those who had lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control.

The Philippine Statistics Authority tallied an all-time high 17.7 percent unemployment rate in April, which it said was caused by the stringent community quarantine measures that suffocated the economy.

The country’s economy went into recession as its second-quarter gross domestic product plunged by 16.5 percent.

Since the general easing of community quarantines nationwide last June, the government’s course of action amid the Covid-19 crisis has turned to balancing public health and the economy.

Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte would tackle concerns on employment in his televised address tonight. John Ezekiel J. Hirro