By Chino S. Leyco
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced yesterday the approval of its financing support for the government’s efforts to reduce the number of out-of-school and unemployed youth.
In a statement, the Manila-based multilateral institution said that it approved a $400-million policy-based loan to address one of the factors that has been impeding the Philippines’ more inclusive growth.
ADB said the policy-based loan should support government reforms aimed at improving the employability of young Filipinos through labor market programs and providing easier access to on-the-job training schemes.
“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,” Jose Antonio Tan III, ADB Southeast Asia Regional Department director said.
“ADB has a long-standing partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment in youth employment programs. We are committed to helping generate more job opportunities for young Filipinos,” he added.
While some progress has been made in reducing unemployment in the country, ADB noted that the country’s number of out-of-school and unemployed youth remains higher compared with Southeast Asia and the Pacific’s average of 18 percent.
ADB estimated that one in every five Filipinos between the ages of 15 and 24, including one-third of young Filipino women, are still not in employment, education, and training.
“The new ADB loan supports the government’s efforts to expand and transform operations of the Public Employment Services Offices in local government units (LGUs) across the country,” the bank said.
The loan should introduce more professional processes in LGU level with quality standards, broaden the coverage of the Jobstart Philippines Program, and have skills development schemes targeting specific sectors, ADB said.
The loan 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.