Press Release
July 26, 2023

Committee on Labor and Employment hearing
26 July 2023

The labor statistics of our country always reflect the need to make focused and intensive measures to improve the employability of our people, especially the youth. In the May 2023 Labor Force Survey released by the Philippine Statistics Authority or PSA, the Youth Labor Force Participation Rate was estimated at 33.8 percent. This is lower than the rate recorded April 2023 which is at 34.7 percent, and much lower than that in May 2022 which is 36.2 percent.

Among others, such dismal labor situation may be attributed to job-skills mismatch brought about by the misalignment of education and training systems with the skills demanded in the labor market. Sa ibang salita, maraming kaalaman at kakayahan ang kailangan ng ating mga industriya na hindi lubos na natututunan ng ating mga kabataan sa paaralan. As a result, the school-to-work transition of Filipino youth is slow.

An important intervention to address this perennial predicament is through apprenticeship which provides practical training on the job, founded on relevant theoretical instruction. It seeks to provide the economy with trained workers by addressing the job-skills mismatch and in turn, improving the employability of our people. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit nakapaloob sa Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, o ang Labor Code of the Philippines, ang apprenticeship, na siya namang pinalawak ng Republic Act No. 7796 o ang "Technical Education and Skills Development Act of 1994".

However, there is a need to further strengthen the existing National Apprenticeship Program to bridge the gap between the needs and demands of the formal education and training to those of the enterprises. Kailangang paigtingin ang nasabing programa upang siguruhin na may angkop na kapasidad ang ating mga manggagawa upang epektibo nilang magampanan ang mga responsibilidad na iaatang sa kani-kanilang trabaho. Ang aktibong partisipasyon ng mga organisasyon at kumpanya ay dapat ding palawakin upang mas maraming oportunidad ang maibigay sa ating mga kababayan.

For these reasons, several legislative measures proposing to strengthen the National Apprenticeship Programs were filed in this Chamber. These measures are among the priority bills of the 19th Congress under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028, which puts emphasis on the need to "harmonize the existing enterprise-based training or EBT modalities and expand the provision of training programs being implemented within companies which can be a mix of workplace training and classroom-based learning" and to "institute further reforms on the apprenticeship program to make them more attractive to both the enterprises and the prospective apprentices, promoting skills acquisition and youth employment."

No less than the DOLE supports the passage of this measure. As a matter of fact, they conducted multi-stakeholder forums and consultations to ensure that the inputs and concerns of the various sectors are embodied in the Department's proposed bill.

The Revised Apprenticeship bill is a crucial instrument to make both our people and our enterprises competitive and productive in the continuously evolving economic landscape. The Fourth Industrial Revolution poses new and inevitable challenges; the Filipino workforce should be well-equipped to immediately and effectively respond to them, hopefully through the measures that we will be discussing today.

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