After Thursday’s announcement that the country experienced its worst economic decline since World War 2 last year, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) on Friday called on the government to provide a wage subsidy to workers.

In a statement released on Friday, TUCP President and Party-list Rep. Raymond C. Mendoza said, “We have long been urging the Government to get ahead of the recession and put into place wage subsidies for those who are struggling to stay afloat. A wage subsidy is urgently needed, as the economy has not bounced back as predicted by the economic managers.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority on Thursday said that the country has suffered its worst gross domestic product (GDP) contraction since the Second World War, with the Philippine economy contracting by 9.5% in 2020.

This was largely due to the ongoing widespread lockdowns which were first imposed in March last year. A very stringent community quarantine which restricted most economic activity except for essential services was imposed during the first few months of 2020 as a way of controlling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The country has had over half a million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started last year.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said on Thursday that they are not expecting any wage hikes this year as most establishments have been badly affected by the pandemic, making them unlikely to be capable of paying a higher minimum wage to workers. — Gillian M. Cortez