ADB approves loan to lift PH youth employment

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a fresh funding support to the Philippine government that aims to help young Filipinos find quality jobs after the pandemic.

In a statement, the Manila-based multilateral institution said that the ADB approved a $400 million policy-based loan to support the country’s efforts in expanding youth employment and skills programs.

Called “Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition Program, Subprogram 3,” ADB said it builds on the bank’s nearly a decade support to the government in shortening the time at-risk young Filipinos spend to find work after leaving school.

The program will assist the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in boosting the job facilitation capacity of Public Employment Services Offices (PESOs) nationwide, ADB said.

Moreover, the bank said the loan would strengthen labor market programs, improve workplace skills development, and create a healthy work environment.

Jose Antonio Tan III, ADB Public Management, Financial Sector, and Trade for Southeast Asia director said the pandemic has led to job losses in many sectors, especially among young people.

For this reason, Tan said there is an urgent need to help young Filipinos find work through innovative labor market programs and skills development initiatives.

“This new loan reflects our long-term commitment to ensuring that young people find jobs to improve their lives and create a wider employment base for post-pandemic economic growth,” Tan said.

The subprogram follows the two loans approved in 2017 and 201 that helped fund reforms to make PESOs fully operational.

The two loans also established DOLE’s flagship JobStart Philippines program, which provided over 20,000 at-risk youth with life skills training and paid internships, and strengthened apprenticeships.

According to the ADB, the third subprogram will also strengthen government measures to address the impact of the pandemic on youth employment.

Among the reforms supported by the new loan are the creation of a P1 billion Tulong Trabaho (Job Assistance) Scholarship Fund, unemployment insurance scheme, and the First Time Jobseekers Act.

The program assisted in the development of an online Life Skills Training program for JobStart covering digital literacy, mental health, reproductive health and rights, women’s empowerment, and work values.