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DOLE cites gains in generating employment opportunities

QUEZON CITY, (PIA) --Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma said ensuring the provision of effective employment services is one of the primary mandates of Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE) which is recognized in the recently approved Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.

“Employment services are crucial in facilitating school-to-work transitions, eliminating barriers, and reducing costs in searching for and accessing employment opportunities,” the Labor Chief said on the second day of the Post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) discussions, where key officials of various government agencies discuss the Marcos Administration’s poverty alleviation programs and initiatives at the Hilton Hotel Manila in Pasay City on July 26, 2023.

Secretary Laguesma said, as the overall administrator and coordinator of the Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs), the DOLE has mounted since July 2022, 1,190 job fairs across the country, with 325,418 jobseekers registered and 50,849 hired-on-the spot

“Bolstering this gain is the signing of the joint operational guidelines for RA 11261 or the First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act which further expanded access to government service,” Sec. Laguesma said.

On its implementation for 2022, 343,089 first-time jobseekers were assisted by DOLE in securing pre-employment documents such as Barangay Clearance, NBI Clearance, Birth Certificate, and Certificate of Proficiency from concerned agencies.

“The positive results of these employment facilitation strategies are buttressed by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Labor Force Surveys (LFS), which noted that the employment situation in the country continues to improve beyond the pandemic recovery stage,” the labor chief said.

In the May 2023 Labor Force Survey, the employment rate was estimated at 95.7 percent, which was higher than the reported employment rate in the same period last year at 94.0 percent and in April 2023 at 95.5 percent.

Secretary Laguesma said this translates to significant improvements in the country’s labor market situation, attributed to the implementation of the 8-point socio-economic agenda and digital transformation initiatives of the government, which help workers to enhance access to opportunities and increase their employability and competitiveness.

“The Department also supports legislative measures aimed at promoting job-led economic growth such as Senate Bill No. 2035 or the “Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act.” If enacted, this will direct all government agencies to enhance industry collaboration and craft integrated and coordinated solutions to labor and employment-related issues,” he said.

“Moreover, to enhance the employability and competitiveness of graduates and professionalize the workforce, DOLE, through its attached agency Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), conducted and administered licensure examinations in 46 regulated professions. From July 2022 to May 2023, 78 licensure pen and paper examinations were conducted, with 644,911 registered examinees and 314,623 passers in various professions,” he added.

For 2023, the PRC and the Professional Regulatory Boards (PRBs) will also sustain their active participation in negotiations and review of bilateral/multilateral arrangements to promote and facilitate the borderless practice of professions.

Likewise, PRC and PRBs will continue to participate in the 103 ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Services relative to the conduct of the International Commitment Fund (ICF) to forge linkages and pursue collaborative partnerships among ASEAN member states.

In the same vein, PRC will continue to implement its Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program in each regulated profession to upgrade and update the competencies and qualifications of professionals.

DOLE also continues to increase employability and facilitate access of workers to opportunities for decent work and employment, including green jobs by revolutionizing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and by facilitating access to employment opportunities.

To upgrade TVET with technology research and entrepreneurship development towards the making of 4.0 ready graduates and to address the retooling and upskilling of workers affected by technology and innovation, Innovation Centers were established, serving as technology and innovation hubs that connect industries, local and international government agencies, firms, techvoc, higher educational, and research institutions.

To bring the skills, competency, and certification standards for Filipino seafarers at par with regional and international standards, the DOLE, Technical Education And Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) implemented the Training Skills Competency Program aimed at enhancing employability and boosting the competitiveness of our seafarers.

From July to December 2022, a total of 7,529 seafarers were trained to upgrade their skills and competencies based on the requirements under the Standard of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Convention of 1978.

The early enactment of RA 11936 or the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA) greatly helped in the furtherance and strengthening of DOLE’s employment facilitation programs and projects such as the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), Government Internship Program (GIP), and JobStart. From July 2022 to May 2023, a total of 141,031 youths were assisted under these three programs.

Secretary Laguesma expressed his gratitude to the private sector partners of DOLE, saying that with the private sector’s unwavering cooperation with various government agencies, the department achieved its policy objectives outlined in the Rules Implementing Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code.

Such achievements he said, “would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of the legitimate and law-abiding contractors in the promotion of social and economic welfare of workers, and how they help in generating jobs for over a million Filipino workers, even during the pandemic”. (dole/pia-ncr)

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Susan De Leon

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