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Retrenchments alarming: business leader

BUSINESSMAN Rey E. Calooy said that it is now alarming that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) received notices of 25,000 job retrenchment because of the lockdowns.

Calooy, president of the Filipino-Cebuano Business Club (FilCeb), said that aside from 12 million workers who lost jobs since lockdowns were imposed from March 2020 to the present, more retrenchments are increasing.

How can we revive the once strong economy? The 25,000 job retrenchments received by DOLE in January 2021 was for the entire country. The figure is only for those who reported the planned retrenchment like the large companies. But the micro, small and medium enterprises just closed their losing business and left the workers jobless and penniless, ” Calooy said.

F i l C e b has more than 200 members mostly MSMEs. The MSMEs in the Philippine economy is about 90 percent. The capitalization of these MCMEs is classified as follows: Micro, P3 million capitalization and below; Small, P4 million to P15 million; and Medium, P16 million to P100 million.

“Even the creditors who lent them money for business capital are not being informed by the closure of some MSMEs. So, we cannot get the exact number of workers who lost their jobs at present,” Calooy said.

“That is our situation. The backbone of the Philippine economy is MSMEs. There were more than 90,000 MSMEs in the country which were closed last year, multiplied by millions of employees who lost their jobs and members of their families who are indirectly employed,” Calooy said.

He added that the fact that Philippine economy in 2020 was 9.5 percent negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP), that translates to P1.7 trillion negative economy. How many people are supposed to benefit from that had it been positive?

“How can we revive tourism when we have no disposable income? Disposable incomes are the people who are traveling to places because they have money to spend. But coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and resorts are not anymore earning because of restrictions and lack of disposable income. They are now thinking of keeping their money and savings because they are facing uncertainty. Add to that, there is less money circulating in the community,” Calooy said. ELIAS O. BAQUERO