The Department of Finance said over the weekend the faster pace of vaccination rollout and passage of vital economic reforms will generate more employment that are crucial to sustaining the recovery from the devastating impact of the global health crisis.
“The administration of vaccines will help the country live with the virus and pave way for more opening of the economy,” it said in an economic bulletin.
It cited the amendments to the Foreign Investment Act, Public Service Act and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act as among the vital economic reforms.
“Medium- to long-term, the passage of the amendments to the Foreign Investment Act, Public Service Act, and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act will help bring in more capital, generate more employment [and possibly better wages], and make the economy more competitive,” it said.
The DOF issued the statement in the wake of latest government report showing that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 8.1 percent in August to 8.9 percent in September, the highest since the 10-percent recorded in July 2020, mainly due to job losses in the agriculture amid inclement weather and manufacturing sectors.
National statistician and civil registrar general Dennis Mapa said in an online briefing the 8.9-percent jobless rate in September was the highest this year, when PSA started to release labor survey data on a monthly basis. Prior to 2021, the PSA was releasing the data on a quarterly basis
The top five subsectors with the biggest drop in the number of employed persons from August to September 2021 were agriculture and forestry, -862,000; manufacturing, -343,000; information and communication, -126,000; mining and quarrying, -75,000; and real estate activities, -69,000.
The slight loosening of quarantine restrictions, however, boosted employment in the services sector (414,000) and the continued implementation of infrastructure projects created additional jobs in the construction sub-sector (105,000), partially offsetting the loss in employment in agriculture.
The government said that more than 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were already administered under the national vaccination program.
Data from the National Vaccination Operations Center showed that as of Nov. 26, 80,613,849 vaccine doses were administered nationwide. Of the total, 35,391,519 Filipinos were fully-vaccinated, representing 45.88 percent of the target population, while 45,056,508 individuals received a first dose.
More than a million doses were administered nationwide on Nov. 26.
The government is preparing to conduct the first round of National Vaccination Days from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. The second leg of the program will be from Dec. 15 to 17, as the government targets to increase the number of fully-vaccinated individuals in time for the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
The economy contracted by 9.6 percent last year because of the pandemic, the worst since World War 2. Economic managers expect the economy to rebound with a growth between 4 percent and 5 percent this year, driven by the faster pace of vaccination rollout.
The gross domestic product grew 4.9 percent in the first three quarters this year, near the upper end of the target range.