Angara files bill that seeks to empower out-of-school youth

Published October 30, 2019, 3:48 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara is now seeking the passage into law of a measure that seeks to empower the out-of-school Filipino youth.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Senator Sonny Angara Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Angara noted that the government has invested much of its resources to ensure that quality education can be availed of by Filipino youth regardless of their geographic location and or socio-economic class, but sees the need for the state to provide further opportunities for out-of-school youths (OSYs) in terms of educational, employment and entrepreneurial assistance.

Senate Bill No. 1090, the senator said, “will strengthen the State’s mandate of instituting policies and programs for the development of OSYs in the country and to encourage them to seek and avail of the multitude of opportunities that will be presented to them.”

“This includes, but is not limited to, the provision of educational, employment and entrepreneurial assistance through the Department of Education (DepEd), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the various local government units (LCDs), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in addition to health and social protection services,” Angara said.

The lawmaker said the measure also seeks to institute interventions for the benefit of OSYs who are in especially difficult circumstances such as those who are victims of sexual and physical abuse, illegal recruitment, prostitution, trafficking, armed conflict, OSYs in conflict with the law, and other related circumstances which have rendered them functionally incapable in society.

“All of these reforms are aimed at encouraging our OSYs to realize their value in society and exercise self-improvement mechanisms,” he said.

“As our country moves towards the next industrial revolution, it is imperative that we leave no one—especially those with the most potential—behind,” Angara stressed.

Angara said laws such as Republic Act No. 6655 or the Free Public Secondary Education Act of 1998 which his father—former Senate President Edgardo Angara—authored, Republic Act No. 10157 or the Kindergarten Education Act, Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education, and Republic Act No. 10687 or the Unified Student Financial System for Tertiary Education Act (UniFAST) which he helped enact are a few examples of the government’s drive of producing highly skilled and productive citizens and have been a considerable factor in the drop of recorded out-of- school youth (OSYs) in 2017.

Citing a survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Angara said the population of out-of-school children and youth (OSCYs) was reduced to 3.6 million in 2017 from 3.8 million in 2016.

The survey even reported that of the 3.6 million OSCYs, a big percentage of 83.1 percent, were 16-24 years old or those who already belong in the labor force.

“However, while we take note of the significant reduction, a more pragmatic approach would be to understand that the still huge number of OSCYs—when empowered—could help promote their communities’ growth and development,” he said.