106,000 workers, vendors in Northern Mindanao now jobless

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 29 April) – A month after local government units imposed drastic quarantine measures in Northern Mindanao, more than 106,000 workers in the region were left without jobs and are now dependent on government food subsidies to survive.

Northern Mindanao. Map courtesy of Google

Nicanor Borja, Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) director for regional operations, said many firms, especially in the informal sector and shopping malls, suddenly found themselves without jobs or customers after government advised residents to stay at home.

“Malls suddenly became empty and shops have to let go of their employees,” Borja said.

He said the informal sector – like vendors, fishermen and laborers – were also badly affected by the quarantine measures implemented to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

He cited the case of the town of El Salvador, Misamis Oriental, where more than 300 vendors, fishermen and motorcycle drivers are without jobs and now depending on government food subsidy.

Borja said transportation companies like the Rural Transit, Inc. now only maintain a small workforce to run its buses.

He said Dole and Del Monte pineapple companies have also cut back their labor force after encountering some problems in the delivery of goods at the quarantine choke points.

At the start of the implementation of the quarantine measures in Northern Mindanao in March 30, the Department of Labor and Employment said 440 firms closed down, affecting 6,313 workers.

The DOLE region 10 also said 186 firms implemented flexible work arrangement affecting 3,606 workers. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)