Press Release
October 26, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the government to intensify its programs and reforms in social protection by creating more quality jobs and revenue-generating sources of employment for the Filipino youth.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, made the call following a report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) that many Asians continue to work in vulnerable and precarious forms of work, where incomes are low or unstable and access to rights and benefits is restricted.

The report highlighted that about one in six young people in the labor force are unemployed in the Philippines, as well as in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and New Zealand. Labor market prospects for youth in parts of the Asia Pacific region remained dim," it said, citing a 17-percent youth unemployment rate in the Philippines as of the third quarter of 2012.

"There has always been the imperative for the country to create more high-value jobs to enable its people to lift themselves out of poverty," explained Angara, who is also Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

"But when these labor issues hit our youth in such a direct manner, all the more should we ramp up our efforts towards leapfrogging our industries."

Although reports reveal that the number of Filipinos in vulnerable employment is declining slightly by 3.3 percent to 36.9 percent in Q3 2012, Angara stressed the country should not be complacent and should continue to strengthen efforts in addressing the problems of unemployment and underemployment in the country.

The ILO defines vulnerable employment as unpaid family workers and own-account workers "who are less likely to benefit from safety nets that guard against loss of incomes during economic hardship."

People in vulnerable employment--usually those with low educational attainment--work in informal conditions, earn low wages and receive limited legal and social protection.

Furthermore, data reveals that around 70 percent of working people in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam are employed informally in the non-agricultural sector.

"Given these considerations, this is precisely where all sectors of society - government, industry and the academe - have to come together and collaborate to create a very solid base for our industries to innovate," added Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

The veteran lawmaker noted that beginning 2011, COMSTE is working with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on the establishment of innovation clusters - public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Science and Technology (S&T) and R&D towards spurring job opportunities and industry growth.

A little over P300 million in the 2012 budget has been allocated for the deployment of clusters focused on the following areas: 1) Algae Research and Commercialization; 2) ICT for Cloud Computing; 3) Responsible Mining Technologies; 4) Disaster Science and Risk Reduction; and 5) Smart Agriculture and Precision Farming.

Angara stressed that as deliberations for the 2013 budget are underway, new clusters have also been recommended to tackle 1) Aging and Regenerative Medicine; 2) Renewable Energy for Off-Grid Applications; 3) Food Safety and Traceability; and 4) Marine Science.

The veteran lawmaker concluded, "Only by aligning the energies and resources of the academe, the government and of industry towards conducting meaningful R&D can the opportunity broaden for high-value jobs to be created throughout the country."

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