(Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz issues the statement below following the release by the Social Weather Stations of its first quarter 2015 survey on adult joblessness.)
“Although not strictly comparable with the Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority because of conceptual and methodological differences, the results of the SWS quarterly survey on adult joblessness for the first quarter of 2015 confirm official data that unemployment in the country is, indeed, on the downward trend. I, therefore, welcome the results of the SWS survey.
“The SWS survey notes that unemployment in the first quarter is the lowest in four-and-a-half years under the administration of the Aquino III administration and describes as “very high” the optimism of those surveyed (38 percent) about the prospects of job availability in the next 12 months. This ratio was only 36 percent in the last quarter of 2014 survey of SWS—but still “very high”.
“These, I believe, clearly shows that jobs in the economy continue to grow and be created and in the process our people are getting employed or finding jobs. Economic growth is accompanied by jobs growth, despite the odds and what some skeptics say.
“We are very positive our efforts in helping build an atmosphere conducive to job creation by fostering sustainable industrial peace, as well as our employment facilitation programs and services—all of which we carry out in strong partnership with companies and industries—have brought us to this state of employment. We will not flag in pursuing these correct paths.
“For example, in trying to shorten the school-to-work transition of our unemployed youths from between two and four years to between six and nine months and increasing their employability to 80 percent and above, we are now rolling out nationwide the first full-cycle employment facilitation program in Asia, JobStart Philippines. This DOLE program, with the support of the Asian Development Bank and funding of the government of Canada, offers enhanced career guidance services, job matching and referral, technical training, internship, and a transformative eight-day like skills training which most employers say are the key to employability.
A total of 3,200 young people aged 18-24; high school graduate or college drop-out; with no job, or less than one-year job, experience; not in employment, education, or training, will benefit from the roll out, in addition to the 2,162 youths who have already benefited from the pilot run of the program which ends yet this July.
Another program which we believe is very helpful in facilitating youth employment is the Special Program for Employment of Students. In his first Labor Day message, President Benigno S. Aquino III added 85 percent to the SPES budget, from P162,779,500 in 2010 to P301,248,000 in 2011. This is the highest increase in the SPES budget since 1997, and yearly the budget increase continues until it has reached P491,488,000 last year. A total of 609,145 young Filipinos have benefited from the SPES from 2011 to 2014.
“Another very helpful program is the Training for Work Scholarship Program administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, an attached agency of the DOLE.
“From 257,594 beneficiaries in 2011, the number of TWSP beneficiaries has reached a total of 702,237 by year-end 2014. According to the 2013 Impact Evaluation Study of TVET programs, the employment rate of TWSP beneficiaries is 68.5 percent. In the electronics industry and IT-BPM sector where the TESDA is in partnership with industry, the employment rate reaches as high as 91 percent.
“Another TESDA program, the Technical-Vocational Education and Training, has recorded a total of 1,332,751 graduates from 2011-2014. This number added-up to the 4,074,744 million persons assessed during the period. Of this number of assessed trainees, 2,567,580 persons were certified, resulting to a certification rate of 63 percent. We know that certified workers easily find jobs than those who are yet to be assessed and certified.
“Other DOLE employment facilitation programs and services that we believe continue to have positive impact are the Government Internship Program, Labor Market Information, and Public Employment services, DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, Two-Tiered Wage System, Single-entry Approach conciliation-mediation mechanism, and the new Labor Laws Compliance System, all of which are geared towards enhancing employability, facilitating access to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, and protecting workers’ rights and promoting their welfare.