Labor group says government’s program for youth employability problematic

Apr. 19, 2015

DAVAO CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is expanding its program “JobStart Philippines” to create opportunities for the youth.

From four institutionalized Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) during the first wave of pilot implementation of this program: NCR (Quezon and Taguig), Region IV-A (General Trias City), and Region III (San Fernando City), the DOLE is looking forward for 14 PESOs to carry the JobStart Philippines this year.

The program seeks to assist unemployed youth to find decent jobs by giving them the chance to improve their technical skills and develop their life skills.

“The program aims to help young Filipino jobseekers, 18 to 24 years old with less than one year or no work experience, at least high school graduate who is not currently working or enrolled in school or training and is seeking for a job,” said Bureau of Local Employment Director Dominique R. Tutay.

She also added that this program also aims to increase employment and reduce poverty as it will help the youth to have the right skills that would fit a job.

“Unemployment in the country can be largely attributed to mismatches between demand and supply of labor, and big part of the unemployed population consists of young, educated workers with a high youth NEET (not in employment, education and training) rate of 24.3%,” Tutay said.

DOLE is allocating 3,200 vacancies to the program and is set to launch JobStart Philippines this year. Davao City and Tagum City were identified as among the second-wave of pilot sites for the program.

Beneficiaries of the program will undergo technical training of up to three to six months of on-the-job training, a stipend, insurance and an allowance of 75 percent of the minimum wage in the relevant city or municipality.

Christine Joy Bajao, 21, a fresh graduate said that this program is helpful to the young people especially to the young professionals.

“It doesn’t just give trainings but what is great about this is it also gives experience to the youngs which is really a requirement when you apply for a real job,” Bajao said.

Also a fresh graduate Justin Kenneth Gamulo, 21, believes the program will help the youth function independently and efficiently on the career path they will be choosing.

“Employment is a crucial aspect of a youth’s journey towards adulthood. JobStart would help them understand the importance of building basic work skills so they are prepared for employment,” he said.

But, militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno called the program as a “foreign-directed and myopic project as with all other DOLE projects.”

“It is hardly the process of employment that is the problem, but the whole framework that is anchored on cheap and export oriented labor. What kind of jobs are there? There are no sustainable jobs. The jobs that exist are low-paying, contractual, and precarious work,” said KMU Southern Mindanao spokesperson Carlo Olalo.

“Workers live on the edge of a knife trying to make ends meet every day without job security,” Olalo said.

Research group Ibon said the number of unemployed is at 4.16 million.

“The figure is based on a recently revised definition of unemployment and an estimate approximating the previous definition for comparability with previous years,” the research group said.

IBON added that while the reported creation of over a million jobs from last year is welcome, the quality of over half these jobs leaves much to be desired. Out of the one million net new jobs created, some 515,000 were in among the economy’s lowest earning sectors: agriculture (201,000 jobs), wholesale and retail trade (251,000) and private households (62,000).

According to IBON “there is a problem if the economy is consistently able to register growth and deliver corporate profits, but unable to create enough jobs and raise wages.”

“The situation highlights the need for urgent reforms in the domestic economy and address its inability to create regular and productive jobs,” the research group said. (

comments powered by Disqus