Press Release
February 5, 2016

Senate approves bill to help out-of-school youth find jobs

The Senate approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to establish a job assistance program for out-of-school youths to help them find gainful employment. The bill was passed two days before session adjourned on Wednesday.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said Senate Bill No. 3091 or the JobsStart Philippines Act, aimed to develop lifetime skills among out-of-school youths by providing them with trainings and on-the-job apprenticeships with companies.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that the measure is part of the Senate's efforts to help increase employment of the country's burgeoning young population and help them become productive members of the country's workforce.

Angara also cited an April 2015 Labor Force survey which showed that youth unemployment contributed to half of the total 2.68 million unemployed Filipinos. The figure translates to about 1.35 million unemployed Filipino youth aged 15 to 24. Angara then explained in his sponsorship speech, "the targeted beneficiaries of JobStart are unemployed or out-of-school youth who are 18 to 24 years of age reaching at least high school level, with none to less than a year of work experience and are not employed."

Angara said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Canadian government, had piloted the JobStart Philippines program in selected local government units (LGUs) in May, 2014.

Under the proposed measure, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall establish a JobStart Unit at the Bureau of Labor and Employment and (BLE) and in every DOLE regional office. The BLE shall provide the necessary technical and administrative assistance to concerned regional and field offices and to the Public Employment Service Offices (PESO) nationwide.

PESO is a non-fee charging multi-employment service facility responsible for implementing a variety of labor market programs, including job search assistance, training and placement for the unemployed, particularly the young jobseekers.

According to DOLE data, the 1,925 PESO offices nationwide are credited for around 5.66 million job placements since 2010.

Angara said trainees undertaking the JobStart program would first have to undergo a 10-day life skills development phase where they would be introduced to work ethics like professionalism and time management.

He said the second component of the program would require trainees to undergo a technical training period of three months or less, depending on the trainees' ability to learn the needed skills required by the employer and the industry.

After acquiring the needed skills for work, trainees will be required to go on an internship program lasting no more than three months to 600 hours.

"Upon entry into the internship stage, the participating employer shall provide the JobStart trainees with a daily stipend of not less than 75 percent of the prevailing minimum wage in the city or municipality where the establishment is located," according to the proposed bill.

Angara said JobStart trainees would be protected with basic accident insurance for the duration of the program, which will be paid by the DOLE.

He said trainees would be qualified to get a National Certificate or Certificate of Competency (COC) upon completion of the program with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) setting the mechanisms and guidelines for the evaluation of competencies not covered by existing training regulations.

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