Senator Sonny Angara has urged government to intensify its jobs programs that will help Filipinos, especially the youth, land high paying jobs amid high youth unemployment and underemployment rates in the country.
Based on the July 2018 labor force survey, 1.04 million or almost half of the 2.32 million unemployed Filipinos are youth from the ages of 15 to 24.
The survey showed that many of the unemployed were still awaiting results of their previous job applications, waiting for rehire or job recall, and were tired or they believed that there is no more work available.
“The government should intensify its jobs programs which target the youth.”
While unemployment rate has decreased from 5.6 percent in July last year to 5.4 percent this year, underemployment has increased from 16.3 percent to 17.2 percent.
Such a high underemployment rate means that more employed Filipinos are still looking for more work or longer working hours because they do not have regular full-time jobs that are high paying, or simply because they are experiencing a job mismatch.
“The figures suggest that: 1) the country’s unemployment challenge is primarily a youth phenomenon, and 2) the quality of jobs in the Philippines is deteriorating,” said Angara who is a known advocate of labor reforms.
“The government should intensify its jobs programs which target the youth. We commend the decrease in unemployment but more than that, we should look at the incomes. The country should be generating higher paying jobs,” added the seasoned legislator, vice chairman of the finance committee, who is tasked to sponsor and defend the budget of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Among the employment facilitation programs of DOLE are the Public Employment Service Office (PESO), the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES), and the JobStart Program–all of which are mandated by laws sponsored by Angara when he was chairman of the labor committee.
According to the data from DOLE, in 2017 alone, 6.5 million jobseekers were provided with labor market information and referred for job placement through PESO; almost 200,000 youth were provided with temporary employment under SPES; and, nearly 8,000 youth were provided with life skills training under JobStart.
“The country should be generating higher paying jobs.”
The veteran lawmaker has assured that such programs will be given sufficient funding to enable DOLE to meet or even exceed its target beneficiaries for next year.