The first nine days of August were met with the retrenchment of 16,134 workers from 944 establishments after they downsized or ceased operations, according to data from the Department of Labor (DOLE). At this rate, an average of 1,792 workers are being laid off daily, surpassing the highest number of employee dismissal recorded last June at 1,686.

The pandemic has also left 157,705 workers from 7,759 affected businesses unemployed, almost 48 percent of which are from Metro Manila. Calabarzon followed suit with close to 21 percent of the displaced workers while Central Luzon had 11 percent.

Now that the National Capital Region along with the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal are back in a two-week modified enhanced community quarantine classification, business operations are once again limited to essential services. DOLE notes that the administrative and support services sectors are still the most hard-hit industries accounting for  almost a quarter of the unemployment number at 36,578.

Is there help on the horizon for these displaced workers? 

Sort of, after the House of Representatives approved the proposed Bayanihan To Heal As One Act or the Bayanihan 2 on its third and final reading. As stated in the act, the P162-billion economic stimulus fund will allocate P20 billion for the implementation of cash-for-work programs for displaced workers, among others. Twelve billion pesos will also be set aside for the agriculture and fisheries sector while P10 billion will finance the programs and affected workers of the transportation sector. Department of Social Welfare and Development initiatives will likewise be funded with P12 billion.

To date, 83,135 businesses have temporarily closed down, affecting at least two million workers.

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