MANILA, Philippines — As dine-in services resume limited capacity and Metro Manila shifts to localized lockdowns, Senator Grace Poe has called for additional support for establishments and employees in the foodservice industry.
“A lot of small restaurants have actually closed down so there are a lot of cooks and waiters that have no jobs. Mayroon bang some sort of unemployment assistance na makukuha sila?” asked Poe during a Senate briefing on the proposed national budget for 2022.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the foodservice industry has contributed more than P200 billion in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) since 2015. The restaurant industry also generated around 377,000 jobs and supported 33,451 businesses in 2018.
Conversely, the intermittent implementation of harsh lockdowns has forced many restaurants to operate at reduced capacity and to furlough restaurant workers.
“Marami nang kailangan talaga ng unemployment benefits at this point,” said Poe as she pushed the government to do more for laid-off workers.
Poe also raised the fact that the sudden re-imposition of MECQ- despite an earlier announcement that Metro Manila would revert to General Community Quarantine- was counterproductive.
“It’s actually an issue of trust also on government when they make some tentative decisions like this. And I’m sure it also frustrates you, Secretary Sonny because your concern is basically the economy and what they are doing is counter-productive,” Poe added.