Labor NewsPart 4 News: General Business EnvironmentSocial Service: Poverty News

ADB approves $400-million loan to cut youth unemployment

Samuel P. Medenilla & Cai U. Ordinario
BusinessMirror | December 4, 2019

In Photo: A local job fair

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $400 million policy-based loan to reduce the number of out-of-school and unemployed young Filipinos.

The loan will be used to finance the Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition Program, Subprogram 2, which  will support the government’s efforts to expand and transform operations of the Public Employment Services Offices (PESO) in local government units (LGUs) nationwide.

The government aims to transform PESO offices into more professional processes with quality standards, broaden the coverage of the JobStart Philippines Program, and introduce skills development schemes targeting specific sectors.

“This new ADB loan seeks to address the skills mismatch between young job seekers and the competencies demanded by employers,” said ADB Southeast Asia Senior Economist for Public Finance Cristina Lozano. “It also strengthens labor regulations to provide income security and decent jobs.”

In addition, an ADB technical assistance program will pilot a workplace funding scheme in 2020 to help employers implement skills upgrade initiatives in their businesses.

The loan also supports government reforms that aim to improve the employability of young Filipinos through labor market programs and provide easier access to on-the-job training schemes to help them secure and retain jobs.

It also supports labor-policy reforms, such as the introduction of unemployment insurance as part of amendments to the Social Security Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act, which requires employers to comply with specific workplace standards.

“Many young Filipinos today are anxious about their career prospects in a very competitive labor market. This program will enhance public employment services to help them transition from school to work,” said the Director for Public Management, Financial Sector, and Trade at ADB’s Southeast Asia Regional Department Jose Antonio Tan III.

The program also builds on ADB’s previous support to the government’s employment initiatives, such as the design and roll out of the JobStart Philippines Program as a full-cycle youth employment facilitation program that has become law with adequate government funding.

While some progress has been made in reducing unemployment in the country, 1 in 5 Filipinos, including a third of women, aged 15 to 24, are not employed in school or in training. This is significantly lower that the average of 18 percent in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) Director Dominique R. Tutay told the BusinessMirror that the loaned amount will be used to support education, training and employment for youth from concerned agencies.

She said the amount will be distributed to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), Department of Education (DepEd), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to achieve this purpose.

“For DOLE, it is more of technical support in the area of capacity building for PESO’s life skills training and Industry 4.0,” Tutay said.

She added DOLE will be able to tap the loaned fund starting by 2021, adding that  Tesda and DepED will have their separate time lines in accessing the said fund.

Image Credits: DOLE photo