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Suicides rise amid pandemic

Alvin Murcia

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Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Saturday disclosed that the number of suicide incidents in the country has increased during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic due to loss of jobs and livelihood among many of those affected by the community quarantines.

In a statement, Guevarra said that he received a call from IATF-EID Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. about the matter, noting that the chief implementer is seeking help from the church and spiritual leaders in providing counsel and guidance to their members and followers.

“The help of churches and spiritual leaders is needed in providing counsel and guidance to their members and followers who are undergoing depression due to loss of employment or livelihood, the anxiety of being afflicted with or dying from the dreaded disease, loneliness arising from isolation, and lack of hope for a return to their normal lives,” said Guevarra.

The Justice secretary added that he shares Galvez’s concern on the matter and he is urging spiritual leaders to bring this much-needed message of hope to our suffering countrymen in order to stave off more incidents of self-destruction.

Guevarra also revealed that Galvez’s message was relayed to leaders from the Catholic and Protestant churches, Islam, Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) and other religious congregations.

Earlier, a joint report of the Asian Development Bank and the International Labour Organization disclosed that up to a million Filipino youth are at risk of going jobless this year due to the pandemic if lockdown rules stretch.

The two development groups said youth employment in the Philippines and the rest of Asia-Pacific is “severely challenged,” reeling from community quarantine measures that have paralyzed the global economy.

Estimates show at least 687,000 Filipino youth to as many as 1.019 million may be rendered jobless by the pandemic.

The lower forecast assumes infections are controlled in three months, while more layoffs are expected if it takes six months to manage the situation using various containment measures, including movement restrictions.

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