Manila (ILO News) - Young Filipino leaders raised concerns on youth unemployment and migration, access to information, education and training, protection and promotion of workers’ rights in a recent youth employment forum held in Manila. The forum joined by over a hundred youth, was an opportunity to review the draft National Action Plan for Youth and discus the challenges that face many young people today.
In the Philippines, 1.42 million of the 2.81 million unemployed are young people between ages 15 – 24 struggling to find employment based on the 2011 Labor Force Survey. Meanwhile, youth unemployment rate stands at 17.6 per cent which is more than the national average of 7.4 per cent. However, Director Lawrence Jeff Johnson of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Office for the Philippines notes that youth unemployment is just the tip of the iceberg. Johnson shared that vulnerable employment among the youth is of equal or greater concern citing that the youth vulnerable employment stands at 2.27 million. “Though the youth continue to aspire to finish school, they are forced to drop out of school and work, and find job even in hazardous, unproductive, low paying jobs because of poverty”, he added.
Johnson explained that there is evidence globally of rising inequalities, insecurity and vulnerability, as well as declining quality of jobs available for youth. “It is the realization of an on-going youth employment crisis of unprecedented proportions that prompted the ILO’s Governing Body to put this issue on the agenda of the 101st Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva.”
According to Mr Johnson, it is imperative that the Filipino youth are part of the social dialogue with government, workers, and employers to ensure decent and productive jobs for young people. This was reaffirmed by the Director Chita Cilindro of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),saying that even the implementation of the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan will benefit from this process.
In the recently concluded youth employment forum, young Filipino leaders shared that, policies should address not only salaries but also working conditions and observed barriers to youth participation in the labour market; challenges related to rights and social protection privileges; and insufficiencies of mechanisms for dialogue between young people and employers, lawmakers, policymakers and related government agencies. Norhashim Ulangkaya, 23, Provincial Youth Affairs Officer from Maguindanao added that internship programmes are good but there are cases of exploitation of skills which can happen if one does not know about workers’ rights.
Leon Flores III, National Youth Commission Chairperson said that the Forum manifests the government’s commitment alongside partners to ensure that the youth has a voice in policy decision making. He added that, the results of the Forum validate the Philippine Youth Development Plan and the National Action Plan on Youth Employment and Migration being developed through the Spanish funded MDG F joint programme Alternatives to Migration: Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth.
In response, 25-year old Israel Jayson Vinta, President of Sining Bulakeño said, “There are many initiatives, job fairs, skills training and other programmes for us young people but we are not mostly aware of these employment facilitation programmes”.
Young leaders acknowledged that they are also part of the solution and not solely recipients of government actions and youth projects. In the forum, young leaders vowed to get involved and take action by using social network sites to reach out to more young people and help advocate protection of workers’ rights, quality education and training in employment, among others.
The Forum was organized together with the Department of Labor and Employment Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC), the National Youth Commission (NYC) in partnership with the MDG Fund Joint Programme on Alternatives to Migration: Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth funded by the government of Spain.
For further information please contact:
Ms Ruth Georget
Joint Programme Coordinator, MDG Fund Joint Programme
on Alternatives to Migration: Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth
Tel: +63 2 580 9941 / 580 9900
Ms Minette Rimando
ILO Country Office for the Philippines
Tel: +63 2 580 9905/ 580 9900