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Montemayor overcounts jobless Filipinos

An estimated 3.27 million Filipinos are out of work, not nine million as presidential candidate Jose Montemayor Jr. wrongly claimed in a recent debate.

The Philippine Statistics Authority recorded in its December 2021 Labor Force Survey a 6.6% unemployment rate, equivalent to about 3.27 million individuals.

Montemayor, a cardiologist and lawyer, also incorrectly pegged the country’s unemployment figure before the pandemic at 3.4 million during the Feb. 27 CNN Philippines presidential debate.

Describing the immediate impact of his leadership, he said at the 3:12:57 mark:

Ang (The) unemployment, we will plan to reduce that from 9 million to 3.4 million pre-pandemic levels.

The January 2020 Labor Force Survey, released before the country went into lockdown in mid-March that year, recorded 2.4 million unemployed Filipinos, a million short of the figure Montemayor gave.

The PSA logged a record-high unemployment of 17.7% or 7.3 million jobless people in April 2020 during the strictest community quarantine in Luzon. The PSA said it was the highest rate since it revised the definition of unemployment in 2004.

Unemployed individuals refer to Filipinos ages 15 and above who are able to work and actively seeking employment. The standard also includes those who are not searching for work because they are tired, ill, working on applications, expecting rehire or experiencing “bad weather.”

Previously, the PSA did not specify reasons for disinterest in job hunting. Under the old definition, the highest unemployment rate was in April 1991 at 14.4% or 3.9 million people.

Montemayor is vying for president under the Democratic Party of the Philippines with former legislative staff Rizalito David as his running mate.

He was previously flagged by the Philstar Global, Rappler, News5 and ABS-CBN News for erroneously claiming in the same debate that Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno, a rival presidential candidate, received a $15 million campaign donation from Microsoft founder Bill Gates. (Tinig ng Plaridel)


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